Submit assignment: this is your life: a life review


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One of the ways to gain more knowledge about aging is to construct a life review of an older adult. For this assignment, you will interview someone who is 70 years old or older about his or her life experiences. (See “Life Review Interview Manual” in the Required Studies for helpful information for this assignment.) This person may be your relative, neighbor, someone from your local community, or someone you do not know, but would enjoy interviewing.


These interviews are to be face-to-face because it is more personal and allows non-verbal communication to be observed. Be aware that face-to-face interviews require more planning. Prepare the details of the interview before you call to set up an appointment—the approximate length of time needed and types of topics that will be discussed—so the interviewee can begin thinking about what to say. Realize the interviewee may not have much to say about some topics, so have numerous ideas in mind. Schedule plenty of time for the interview so the older adult does not feel overly rushed. Be cognizant of their stamina. Make it clear that you are willing to speak with them several times if necessary.


You may begin conversations by saying, “Tell me about your family when you were growing up.” Listening is a gift, so be a good listener. You may supplement topics not addressed by your questions, but talk only when necessary to effectively guide the interview. In the end, follow their story more than your agenda.


Take notes. If you would like to tape the interview, ask their permission beforehand, but it will be important to take notes as well to supplement the recording. Transcription from a recording is not always easy, and you will appreciate having detailed notes.


The outcome of this assignment is not only a grade, but a life review that you can present to your interviewee and/or their family. If you do record them, you might offer a copy of the recording to your interviewee so they and their family have a recording of their voice. Their families will appreciate it.


Enjoy the learning process!


This 12-14 page paper should be typed using proper structure, grammar, and punctuation. Your document’s format should include 12 point-Times New Roman font, double spacing, page numbers, and a running header that includes the line “Life Review of [name of interviewee]. You may use headings for the different time periods or topics. The document should flow smoothly from beginning to end, following their life course. Be accurate and true to their story.


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