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For this course you have two projects, the second of which is the Senior Citizen Interview Project. More detailed instructions are provided below regarding each step described in this introduction. Unlike most of the assignments for this course (which tend to be shorter assignments), these two projects require a lot of your time and effort in order to complete. Please begin these projects early.
There is some disagreement about exactly what age a person must be in order to be considered a “senior citizen.” Generally speaking, different organizations will use ages like 55, 60, 62, 65, or 67. For the purposes of this assignment, we will use the age of 65 or older to define who is considered a “senior citizen.”
For this project, you will be:
- 1) exploring your own ideas about being a senior citizen,
- 2) interviewing someone who is a senior citizen (a person aged 65 or older), and
- 3) reporting and reflecting on the interview you conducted.
The graded part of this assignment will be a written report that you will turn in after completing your interview. This document explains the directions for completing this assignment as well as all the instructions you will need.
First, in order to explore your own ideas about being a senior citizen, you will write some short answer responses. The questions explore what your own aspirations and perspectives are about how you think your life will be like when you are a senior citizen.
If you are currently under the age of 65, then you will answer the questions from Part 1.
If you are currently 65 years old or older, then you will answer the same questions that you will ask during the interview (the questions from Part 2, not from Part 1). In order to keep the amount of work fair, just choose 9 of the 13 questions to respond to (there are 9 questions in part 1).
This will be written in question-answer format, not in essay format.
Second, you will need to locate a senior citizen to interview. You are welcome to interview someone that you know (like a family member or friend) or someone that you don’t know (like a person living living near you or in a local retirement home). Overall, it doesn’t matter who you interview as long as this person is a senior citizen (65 or older). If you are already 65 years of age or older, you will still need to interview another senior citizen, I just ask that you interview someone that you aren’t extremely familiar with already (for instance, a spouse or sibling). There is a set of questions that I have provided below that you need to ask the senior citizen you have chosen to interview. You must ask them all of the questions, but you will be choosing only some of the interview responses to write in your graded document. There is more information on this below.
Lastly, as mentioned above, you will be choosing some of the interview responses to write in your document. You will be paraphrasing the responses of the person you interviewed, but you are welcome to include direct quotes from that person if you would like. This part will be in question-answer format. Then, you will be writing a reflection of your experiences exploring what it is like to be a senior citizen. This part will be in a short essay format.
Part 1: Exploring Your Own Ideas About Being a Senior Citizen (65+)
In your document, respond to the following questions. Each response should be at least 5 (five) sentences. This part is in question-answer format (not essay format), so please rewrite the question and put your response beneath that question.
- Try to think about when you will be 65 years old. What do you think your life will look like? Explain your response.
- We know that as we age, we are are at a much higher risk for a lot of different health issues. What are some steps you can take throughout your life to help you age in a healthy way? Explain your response.
- When you turn 65, where do you think you will be living? Do you think you will be living on your own, with family, in a retirement home, or somewhere else? What about when you turn 85? Explain your response.
- This question is about your grandparents. If you do not know about your biological grandparents, then you can skip this question. Where were your grandparents born? What culture(s) influenced your grandparents? When your grandparents were your age, what do you think their goals were for their own future? Did they achieve their goals? Explain your response.
- In your opinion, do we treat all senior citizens equally in the USA? If yes, is this the same for all countries? If no, what type of senior citizens are treated better (and why)? If no, what type of senior citizens are not treated as well (and why)? You could explore topics such as age, sex/gender, religion/spirituality, ability/disability, health/illness, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity/nationality, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or any other topic. Explain your response.
- Do you think that the US government has a responsibility to help the senior citizens here? If no, then why not? If yes, then what role should the government have in taking care of senior citizens? Currently, does the US government do enough to help take care of senior citizens? Explain your response.
- Think about your own experiences with the US healthcare system. Did you find it easy (or difficult) to access medical care, to access medical insurance, and to get treated for an illness or injury? For this question, only share what you are comfortable sharing. You can be as vague or specific as you want.
- Think about everything you own. What is your most treasured/prized possession and why?
- What are three words you would use to describe yourself. Why did you choose these three words?
Part 2: Interviewing a Senior Citizen
As was mentioned above, you will need to locate a senior citizen to interview. You are welcome to interview someone that you know (like a family member or friend) or someone that you don’t know (like a person living living near you or in a local retirement home). Overall, it doesn’t matter who you interview as long as this person is a senior citizen (65 or older). Also, this person must currently be living in the US (this is only because there are questions about their experiences with the US healthcare system). If you are already 65 years of age or older, you will still need to interview another senior citizen, I just ask that you interview someone that you aren’t extremely familiar with already (for instance, a spouse or sibling).
Below you will see a list of questions to ask the senior citizen you have chosen to interview. During your interview you must ask ALL of the questions, but you will be choosing only 5 (five) of the interview responses to write in your graded document. You will need paper and a writing utensil or a computer in order to record the senior citizen’s responses. You may want to audio record everything so you can be sure you have the full interview.
Before you begin your interview, ask them the following questions. This information MUST be in your document and it should be listed just like this at the beginning of Part 2 (before you begin writing their responses to your interview questions):
- What is this person’s name?
- What is this person’s age?
- What culture(s) is/are this person influenced by?
- What date did this interview take place?
- How do you know this person or how did you meet this person?
Below, you find the interview questions. Again, but sure to ask all of the questions below and record the responses. There are no “sentence requirements” or anything like that. Just learn about this person and allow them to tell you about their life. Senior citizens have such an amazing wealth of knowledge and experience, and the purpose of this project is to help you understand that we can learn a lot from our elders.
If the person you are interviewing feels uncomfortable answering any questions, you can skip that question. Everyone has unique memories and living circumstances and this is not meant to cause discomfort to any person. As a reminder, as with all of the assignments for this course, I am the only one who will be reading your projects and they will not be shared with anyone else.
- What is your favorite memory from your childhood?
- What is one piece of advice you would give young people?
- What is one significant life event or experience that made you who you are today? Why did this event or experience impact you so much?
- If you knew your grandparents, what is something they told you or did for you that still impacts you today? Did they ever do something special for you? Did they ever give you any advice or tell you something special? If you did not know your grandparents, who is someone you looked up to when you were a child and why did you look up to them?
- Describe something that has changed a lot over the course of your life so far. In your opinion, has this change been good, bad, or somewhere in-between?
- If you could say one thing to your younger self, what would it be?
- What has been your experience with the US healthcare system? Have you needed to seek medical care for any health issues? Again, only discuss any experience you feel comfortable sharing. You can be as vague or specific as you would like.
- Do you think the US healthcare system is easy to understand and navigate? Is it easy to see a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional?
- Do you think that health insurance is easy or difficult obtain? Does having health insurance help? Is health insurance accessible to all people equally?
- Do you identify with any particular culture? If so, how has your culture influenced your experience as a senior citizen? If not, do you think that different cultures view and appreciate their elderly in the same (or different) ways?
- Think of everything you own. What is your most treasured/prized possession? Why?
- What are three words you would use to describe yourself. Why did you choose these three words?
- There are babies born every day. In 65 years, when these babies become senior citizens, the world will likely be a very different place than it is today. What do you hope the world will look like in 65 years?
In the document that you will turn in for grading, choose 5 (five) of the responses above to paraphrase (or quote). You do not need to write anything additional for these, just report what the person you interviewed gave as their answers. This part should be written in question-answer format (not essay format) so just rewrite the questions and write their response beneath that question. These five responses from the senior citizen needs to be included in your document. You are welcome to include more than five, but you must have at least 5 in order to receive full credit.
Part 3: Reporting and Reflecting on the Interview
At this point, you have already responded to the short answer questions in Part 1 and you have conducted (and recorded the responses from) the senior citizen interview in Part 2. The final step is to write a reflection of this process in essay format (not question-answer like the first two parts). You do not have to follow any particular style (like APA or MLA) just write a 300 – 500+ word response covering the following topics (in any order). You are welcome to write more than 500 words but do not write less than 300. Please do your best to use proper spelling and grammar. If you would like someone to look over your responses before turning them in, feel free to contact the Writing Center for advice.
- What was it like to think about yourself at age 65? Explain.
- What was it like to spend time learning from a senior citizen? Explain.
- During your interview, which response was most interesting to you. Explain.
- Thinking about the US healthcare system, are your experiences and the senior citizen’s experiences the same or different? In what ways are they same or different? If they are different, why do you think this is the case?
- What other questions would you like to ask a senior citizen?
- What did you learn from this project?
The document you turn in will contain the following parts:
- Part 1: Your responses to all 9 (nine) questions (question-answer format)
- Part 2: 5 (five) paraphrased or quoted responses from the senior citizen interview INCLUDING the information about that person’s name, age, and other information listed in the Part 2 description above (question-answer format)
Part 3: Your 300 – 500+ word reflection (in short essay format