Charlotte Lankard: Looking at aging with fresh eyes

If your summer plans involve conversations with senior adults, you might want to borrow some questions from Cynthia Brown, who teaches a class on psychology/sociology of aging at Oklahoma City Community College.
By CHARLOTTE LANKARD, For The Oklahoman Published: July 1, 2014
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If your summer plans involve conversations with senior adults, you might want to borrow some questions from Cynthia Brown, who teaches a class on psychology/sociology of aging at Oklahoma City Community College.

One of her assignments is an oral history interview with a person of retirement age.

Some suggested questions: If you could do one thing over in your life, what would that be? What is the hardest thing you ever had to do? What was the best job you ever had and why?

One question is required: What are the advantages of getting older?

The assignment helps students put a human face on the topic of aging and in turn gives them the opportunity to explore the aging process for themselves and their family members.

The interviews bring new insights to students, and my favorite response from last semester is: “I now look forward to living past 50.” To that, Wayne and Tula Fessenden and Eva May Harper would answer, “Of course!”

Wayne, 85, and Tula, 82, live on two acres in northeast Oklahoma City. They raise vegetable and flower gardens, which require weed pulling, watering and new plantings. With his riding mower, Wayne mows not only his own land but his neighbors’ as well.



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