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Middle or Late Adulthood Observation Paper

Lindsey Page |1
Middle or Late Adulthood Observation Paper
For the final of the observation papers, I chose to interview my mother. Partly due to the
Coronavirus and the quarantine that’s been put into effect, and partly because I am always
impressed by her. I interviewed her for an hour and a half this week, we spent most of the time
talking about the most current things in her life: declining vision, becoming a grandparent, and
her role in life. These topics were covered in chapters 15 and 16.
There were sections on vision in chapter 15, so I compared the information in the
textbook to my mom’s experience. According to the textbook, the greatest decline in eyesight
happens between the ages of 40-59. This happens because, the blood supply in the eye beings to
diminish. The textbook states, “the reduced blood supply may decrease the visual field’s size and
account for an increase in the eye’s blind spot” (pg. 469). My sister and I have noticed my
mom’s vision declining over the past several years and have been encouraging her to get glasses.
She finally caved and got them last week. I asked her what prompted her to get glasses and she
told me why. Apparently, she was driving home from my sister’s apartment in West Valley last
month. It was late at night and had started raining hard. She was having trouble seeing the lines
on the road, and when she reached the construction in Lehi, she was terrified. She admits that her
glasses do help her see, especially when she’s driving. She said, “There’s a huge difference when
I’m driving. It’s much easier to see now.” It’s clear that her eyesight has been declining, just like
the textbook explained, and I’m glad she finally accepted that and got glasses.
We then talked about her role in life and how she defines herself. Chapter 16 cites a study
that asked individuals to finish the sentence “When you think of who you are, you think mainly
of ______” (pg. 508). The study found that more than half of the participants said “family”,
religion and work were also popular answers (9 percent and 8 percent respectively).
Lindsey Page |2
Unsurprisingly, my mom finished the sentence by saying “mom”. She largely still identifies with
the mom label even though both of her children are grown. To her, her role in life is still to be a
mother or a caregiver. This study also reported that over 80 percent of middle-aged and older
adults stated they felt responsible to care for their parents because she is the oldest. My mom
spent years caring for her mother in her old age, even though her mother was verbally abusive
towards her. My mother was mistreated but her sense of duty overpowered her desire to leave.
Lastly, we talked about her new role as a grandparent. Chapter 16 contained several
sections on grandparenting, including information on the grandparenting styles and the meanings
attached to being a grandparent. There are three meanings connected to being a grandparent: a
sense of biological reward, emotional fulfillment (i.e. companionship), and a remote role (pg.
507). At first, my mom thought she had a more remote role. This is because she doesn’t see him
all that often, and she’s not the main caregiver for him. However, after a little more explanation
she admitted that she gets a lot of emotional fulfillment from spending time with her grandson.
There are also three styles of interaction between grandparents and their grandchildren:
formal, fun-seeking, and distant (pg. 507). My mom stated that she thought she fit into the funseeking category, where “grandchildren [are] a source of leisure activity” (pg. 507). However, I
think she belongs more in the formal category. She stated that she doesn’t push her beliefs or
opinions onto her children that are now parents, but she’s willing to offer advice when they ask
or if they are obviously struggling. The textbook explained that grandparents who engage in the
formal interaction style, “showed a strong interest in their grandchildren but were careful not to
give child-rearing advice” (pg. 507).
In closing, my mom’s experience in losing her vision follows the textbook and I was able
to find connections between her role in life and as a grandparent to concepts in the textbook.