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Experience of Aging in Indiana: Interviews Study Report

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Updated: Mar 17th, 2022

Introduction

The conducted interviews were a part of the qualitative study on the aging minority in Indiana. The main objectives of the interviews were to learn about the experience of aging, the need for services for elderly, and the accessibility to such services. The interviews were conducted with two seniors aged 65 and 80 years old. Additionally, a third interview was conducted with President and CEO of Central Indiana Council on Aging (CICOA), to have firsthand information on the services for the elderly in Indiana. The interviews were conducted through informal questions, which in the case of representative of the elderly minority included questions on the actions and the persons referred to incase of help, the usual activities of the participant related to satisfy particular needs, and the experience of living as an elderly minority, e.g., language barriers, the absence of family nearby, etc. The questions with the President of CICOA were more structures and had a formal nature, including questions such as the state of health service for the elderly, challenges in providing services, the plans for overcoming them, and the issues of increasing the awareness of the public to the services.

Results

Mr. Orion Bell, the first interviewee, is the President and CEO of Central Indiana Council on Aging (CICOA). Mr. Bell acknowledged that the state of Health Care (HC) has improved through years, with more provisions being made for the elderly. Nevertheless, as Mr. Bell stated, funding remains a problem, where it is “never enough” (Mr. Orion Bell, personal communication, 4 August, 2010). Such answer conforms to the statement in Gelfand (2006) of many programs lacking adequate funds (Gelfand, 2006, p. 66). The lack of funding being cited as one of the challenges, Mr. Bell indicated the lack of awareness by the elderly as a problem as well. “… [As the year goes, we still see a lot of elder’s and disabled that have no idea Indianapolis has an Area on Aging, Senior Center’s, Specialty physician’s, transportation” (Mr. Orion Bell, personal communication, 4 August, 2010). Plans to improve included working with hospitals to have them refer elderly people to their organizations, and publishing informational materials, which are either available of the website, or printed in a book, which is given free to anyone who needs it.

The second interviewee was Miss Jane, an 80-year-old African American lady, who is widowed with no local family. After a couple of introductory questions on her current health, to which she responded positively, Ms. Jane stated that she lives in the inner city for 50 years. Ms Jane mostly cited friends and neighbors as her only help to get around her daily needs. “I have been here so long and know my neighbors they continue to check on me daily” (Ms. Jane, personal communication, 4 August, 2010). At other times, Ms. Jane relies on herself to take care of her daily needs, having no idea that “Indianapolis had a Area on Aging that may be able to help her out with light housekeeping, grocery store runs and transportation to doctor’s appointments” (Ms. Jane, personal communication, 4 August, 2010). Having no family was not an issue for Ms. Jane as the neighbors became her new family living for so long around them.

The final interview was conducted with Mr. Jones, a 65 years old man who moved from New Mexico 5 years ago, and does not speak English. The interview questions and answers were interpreted by Mr. Jones daughter. Overcoming confusion, which might be resulted from him not understanding the purpose of the interview, Mr. Jones stated that he really enjoyed living in Indiana. Mr. Jones needs were mostly taken care of by his daughter and grandchildren, who also help him in translation. Mr. Jones indicated that most his activities revolve around his home, since he does not speak English. Mr. Jones was attached to his daughter for most arrangement, and in case she was not at available, he could not go anywhere. His lack of awareness on services provided for Spanish speaking citizens is mostly contributed to the lack of language, and accordingly the lack of awareness by his daughter. Nevertheless, when she was informed about “a local Spanish church that has a senior center with Spanish speakers who could help in her father’s care giving… [s]he seemed to be grateful for the information (Mr. Jones, personal communication, 4 August, 2010).

Discussion of Findings

Categorizing the information in the interviews into those related to elderly participants and those related to service providers, it can be stated that the main theme in both case is related to the lack of awareness. In all cases the information cited by Mr. Bell, was confirmed by other interviewees, which lacking awareness of existent center of the elderly population. Such finding confirm to the findings identified in the survey by the FSSA Division of Aging, which is “the lack of awareness of respite services” (FSSA Division of Aging, 2007).

Both interviewees cited the reliance on neighbors and relatives as their main help, which put the responsibility of the education on those around the elderly people. In that regard, considering the lack of personal responsibility as the main factor in healthy aging and control, and the lack of it in the case of the interviewees, such factor can be contributed to the lack of awareness of social services. Accordingly, it can be stated that there differences in the living arrangement of elderly minority conforms to the findings in Bicket and Mitra (2009), which stated that the difference in such arrangements shaping the receipt of services (Bicket & Mitra, 2009). The differences between living alone and living with someone can be traced in the way the needs of the interviewees were taken care of, i.e., by the daughter, or by neighbors.

It can be concluded that even though the main challenges cited by Mr. Orion Bell, and which were confirmed in the literature, being funding and the lack of awareness, it is the latter that have the main impact on elderly not receiving help and services.

Works Cited

Bicket, M. C., & Mitra, A. (2009). Demographics and living arrangements of the minority elderly in the United States. Applied Economics Letters, 16(10), 1053-1057.

FSSA Division of Aging. (2007). Indiana State Plan For Aging and In-Home Services. Indiana Government. Web.

Gelfand, D. E. (2006). The aging network : program and services (6th ed.). New York: Springer Pub. Co.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Experience of Aging in Indiana: Interviews Study." March 17, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/experience-of-aging-in-indiana-interviews-study/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Experience of Aging in Indiana: Interviews Study'. 17 March.

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