The topic that I wanted to explore is successful aging in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and what does that mean to this population of older adults. Additionally, what are some of the things impact this group in determining life satisfaction for this cohort. Additionally, does the term successful aging look at all factors that contribute to the theory and if not, what may be a better way to conceptualize the theory that is inclusive of all older adults.
Brief Description of Elder
Joe is a 61 year old retired Caucasian man who currently works part-time at the East Madison/Monona Coalition of the Aging as an Administrative Assistant. He began working for the coalition as a volunteer but then decided to take a part-time job with the agency working Tuesday through Thursday approximately 6 hours per day. Joe previously worked at UW Madison in the Educational Research Department for 28 years as an Administrative Assistant and retired at age 57. He explained that he had to retire so early because a “man by the name of Gov. Walker decided that he was going to change my pension” so he had to leave his job to protect his retirement. Joe had not had a sick day in 30 years and if he waited until he was 62 he would have lost all of this time that he had accrued. Prior to that he worked in food service at Mendota for several years and prior to that was in the seminary. He said that he grieved leaving his job for some time after he left. He loved his job and the people he worked with and did not like the social isolation that was experiencing so he began volunteering and then decided that a part-time job would be sufficient to keep his mind active and socially connec...
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...to know that I understood that his children were not forgotten and that “they are in the will.”
In the context of this assignment I felt more restricted in the questions that I asked than I would if I were conducting an assessment of an older adult as part of my job. I believe that this has a lot to do with my own negative experiences as an employee (pre-social work career) and my strong desire to keep work and social relationships separate. In my experience it is not good practice to get to know co-workers very well so my own personal bias did impact the communication. In comparison, when working with older adults within the context of my job, while it is not always comfortable to ask personal questions, however, it can be framed as this is just part of the job and I need to have this information in order to provide the best services to the client.
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