ERIC Number: ED249366
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Nov-8
Reference Count: 0
Tapping the World of the Older Adult.
Wolf, Mary Alice
Older people grow and develop psychologically; they do not necessarily decline in intellectual functioning; and they are capable of learning and enriching their own lives and the lives of others with their wisdom and experience. However, in a fast-paced and impatient culture, little time is given to hearing what older people have to say. Older persons, in turn, often do not want to speak; they are intimidated or they do not value their own abilities because society does not. These attitudes stand in the way of using older adults as the greatest informational resource in this culture. Not only have they had to grow and adjust for 60 or 80 years, but they also have witnessed the greatest changes in history. And they have much to tell about survival, about values, and about aging. One method that adult educators can use to tap this unplumbed resource is the life review. This autobiographical process, whether oral or written, can be a tool both to help older adults integrate the experiences of a lifetime and younger learners gain information about the culture and values that have shaped us and about their own aging. A productive process of facilitating a life review is the in-depth interview, a simple series of three interviews, each lasting 45 minutes and conducted over 3 weeks. The first interview focuses on the interviewee's past, the second focuses on the quality of life now. Finally, the third interview seeks some evaluation by the older person. It asks, "What sense do you make of your experience? What does it mean to you?" This technique has been successful in prompting life reviews and growth by both the older students and the younger interviewers. A 6-page reference list is appended. (KC)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Presented at the National Adult Education Conference (Louisville, KY, November 8, 1984).