The client that I spoke with is an 84-year-old woman named Rose. She is Caucasian, 5'2" tall, with blonde hair, blue eyes, well-maintained skin, and hair, and she is dressed in clean, expensive classic attire. Rose looks approximately 10 years younger than her physical age, and there is enough smoothness to her skin to suggest that she may have undergone some type of plastic surgery or cosmetic procedure, however there is nothing overtly fake in her looks. She looks moderately wealthy, and one would automatically assume that she is a member of the upper-middle socio-economic class, though her home size and location actually suggest that she is firmly middle class. Her physical appearance and dress reveal other details about her. For example, she is overtly Christian, and consistently wears a gold cross necklace.
Rose was born in Peachtree Georgia, which is where she spent the majority of her childhood. She knew her husband throughout their childhoods, though they were not childhood sweethearts. He was a few years older, and she began dating him after he came back to town after his second year of college. She moved to the area when she was first married, because her husband attended graduate school in the area. They liked the area enough to decide to settle here, and both Rose and her husband were able to find long-term employment her. She retains strong ties to the community. Her daughter lives in the area, as do two of her grandchildren and her only great-grandchild. She has many friends that are still living, so she has a thriving support community. In fact, her best friend Joan still lives in the house next door to Rose, though Joan has been discussing moving to live with one of her children. Though Rose is concerned about Joan moving, Joan is experiencing some health problems that make Rose realize that she will have to move, either in with her daughter or into an assisted living facility, within a short period of time.
Rose was married her entire adult life, but has been widowed for the past three years. Rose considers her marriage to have been a very happy one, though she was quick to say that women who married during her time had different expectations than women who marry today. For example, she suggested that infidelity, while not to be tolerated, was something one would forgive in a spouse. She has one daughter, with whom she is very close, but no other surviving children. While she discussed the idea of a surviving child, she refused to discuss any details about other children beyond reiterating that she has one surviving child. Obviously, her usage of the word surviving means that she has lost at least one other child, but whether that was through miscarriage or through early childhood deaths, one can only speculate. She has three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She sees her daughter, two of her grandchildren, and her great-grandchild at least once a month, when they come to her house for a family dinner, which has been part of her family's rituals since she was a young mother. She sees her other grandchild a few times each year. Family continues to play a really critical role in her life, and her daughter is one of her closest and most-trusted confidants.
One of interesting facts about Rose is that she actually received a college education, which was somewhat unusual for a woman of her time. While women of her age were entering the workforce, many of them were doing so in pink-collar positions or as menial laborers. Rose's family emphasized the importance of education and was determined to send her to college, as well as sending her brothers to school. However, there was a gender-based discrepancy in their educations. While her brothers were sent to law school and medical school, Rose's aspirations to be a lawyer were discouraged, and she was told to pursue social work. Rose did so, actually attaining her MSW several years after she got her bachelor's degree and began her career as a social worker. She was a social worker, and worked until retirement in that capacity, though she transitioned into juvenile-justice social work in her later years, and continued to volunteer in the field long after her retirement. She still volunteers in the juvenile-justice arena, however the nature of her volunteer work has changed; instead of working directly with clients, she now works primarily in fundraising. Her volunteer work is only one of her current hobbies. She enjoys reading, gardening, crossword puzzles, and working on cross stitch. She is also very physically active; she works out on a daily basis. Finally, she is a very socially active person. She sees her friend Joan on a daily basis, goes to a local YMCA to work out a few times a week, and spends several hours a week interacting with others in her volunteer capacity.
Rose's answers about her accomplishments in life are one of the only indications that she is an octogenarian. For example, she reports feeling like a happy marriage and a wonderful child are her proudest accomplishments, but some of her dissatisfaction with other aspects of her life suggests that she felt confined by the lack of opportunities available to women during her youth. She is extremely proud of the fact that she played a pivotal role in helping uncover a child pornography ring in the early 1960s, which she considered a highlight of her career because society was oblivious to the reality of systemic child sexual abuse. However, one of her lifelong frustrations was the fact that she really wanted to go to law school and become a prosecutor. However, her family discouraged her dream to go to law school, because there were very few women in law school or practicing law at that time. She even considered going to law school after she retired, but her husband's health declined in his later years, and she did not feel like she could go back to school at that time. She would still like to become a judge, though she does not think that will be possible. I knew Rose prior to the interview, and I was surprised to hear that she wanted to be a lawyer, because she had always seemed proud of her history as a social worker.
Log Entry Two: Health and Wellness
Rose rated her health as good, and I would actually disagree with that assessment and suggest that her health is actually excellent. She has the stamina and physical ability of someone much younger than herself, and I would not be surprised for her to live at least another decade without having any significant health issues. One of the reasons that Rose considers her health good is that she is able to be physically active. However, it is impossible to say whether her activity is the cause or the effect of her good health. She is certainly more active than most elderly patients. She participates in a bi-weekly water aerobics class; she is the oldest woman in the group and has no problem keeping up with the other class members. In addition to her water aerobics classes, she takes daily walks. When the weather does not permit her to walk outside, she goes and walks in the mall. One of the complications that she has is that she has always suffered from asthmas, which is exacerbated by seasonal allergies, so she exercises in doors when pollen counts are high. In addition, Rose's eating habits are excellent. She eats a low-fat, low-sugar diet, with very little sodium because she eats few processed foods. While she does not have any extreme dietary restrictions or follow a restrictive meal plan, she manages to eat a wide variety of foods and has a very balanced diet.
While Rose's health is good, she does have some health issues that are of concern. One of the biggest issues is that she has a history of back problems, which were probably exacerbated by treatments that she underwent to cure those problems. She has not experienced any major back pain in a few years, but in the past her back pain has led to minor dependence on pain medications, as well as a series of different surgeries. There was some suggestion that her back problems led to reproductive difficulties, but she would not elaborate on that issue, and reproductive issues are no longer a concern at her age. Rose has hypertension, but her heart appears to be in very good shape. However, she has experienced several so-called mini-strokes, which render her temporarily unable to speak, and could eventually render her unable to communicate or even threaten her life. She also suffered a broken hip in her 70s.
One interesting that that Rose said is that she has not noticed tremendous recent changes due to the aging process. She said that she noticed a significant decline in her energy levels between her 50s and…