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Meaningful life orientations of elderly people

Nikolai Zabolotsky has the lines:

How the world is changing! And how I myself am changing! Only by one name I am called, -In fact, what they call me, -Not I alone. There are a lot of us. I'm alive.

Meaningful life orientations, like any mental formations, have their own dynamics. In the process of a person’s life, life-meaning orientations change in content, emotional coloring, and regulatory contribution to being. The dynamism of life-meaning orientations can be traced along the whole path of human existence. “What is my purpose in this life?”, “What am I striving for?” - Every person asks himself such questions from time to time and answers differently on every life segment of life.

In the study, we were interested in changes in the meaning of life orientation and acme, to which a person comes in old and senile age. To this end, we turned to the Social Services Center, where there is a day care unit, where 30 people come per month. They expect communication with interesting people, excursions, visits to exhibitions, theaters, museums, as well as delicious daily dinners. Experienced specialists help people with disabilities in the department of social rehabilitation to restore their previous physical activity.

We turned to such visitors with a request to fill out our questionnaire “on the meaning of life and acme”, developed by the team led by A. A. Bodaleva and V.E. Chudnovsky. A total of 90 people were interviewed. The respondents were divided into two groups by age. The first group included visitors to the Central Organ Center from 60 to 75 years old. The second group consisted of people from 75 to 90 years old. This division into groups was undertaken in order to identify differences, if any, in the meaning of life orientations.

All participants reacted positively to the work process. They were flattered that they were turning to their help, but after a detailed review of the questions, 27 people refused to fill out the questionnaire. We give reasons for refusal.

a) Reluctance to TED the past. “The meaning was in youth. I wanted a lot of things. Much has not come true, What now to write about it? Sad "; “I'm scared to look back. My life has passed. What has been done? Nothing. And you will not return anything ”; “Why such strange questions? The meaning of life has long been lost. Was he? Where did it all go? Now everything is empty. ”

b) Lack of self-acceptance at this age. “What is the meaning of life? Everything was. Was it? Now like a parasite. I ate and to one side ”; “It is difficult in the current state to talk about such things. This is a mockery that I can, where to strive and why? Nobody needs me. This is scary"; “I'm so scary right now. But she was good. I will bring you photographs of my young years. Everything was - both goals and meaning. And now - what to say ”; “I fought, built, now a pensioner. Who needs me so sick? What goals can be built, the meaning of life? This is a terrible age ”; “I have pressure, heart, kidneys. I'm so sick Not to great meanings. It’s most disgusting to look at oneself ”; “As I think, what life has done to me! And there were goals, great things, meaning (with irony). Now everything is gone. And I try not to remember everything that was. ”

c) Shame for a lived life. “Life flew like an arrow. What I've done? Nothing. I worked, studied. I have two educations. And who needs it? It’s scary to look into the past. Fussed, fussed, and empty? ”; “It's a shame, everything was, but probably everything was empty. I do not want to talk and write about it ”; “Everything I have done in my life is wrong. It’s scary to look back. And you made your questions even worse. They again emphasized my failure. ” The remaining 63 people, when asked about the meaning of the meaning of life, identified several priority values ​​in the formation of meaning-oriented life.

Significant value is labor activity, which allows to realize the material and spiritual needs of a person. Lack of professional ability to work is equivalent to the collapse of life. “I worked at the“ Ball ”(plant“ Ball Bearing ”), gave the plan. Always stayed overtime. My workshop was a prize winner. Received bonuses. And now? What I can? The work is gone, and it makes no sense. " “I worked in the ministry, sang in the choir. Now I sing in the choir of veterans, but this is out of boredom. The meaning of life is work, but it is not. ”

People are experiencing severe deprivation of communication. "I'm alone. I have no one to talk to. Whatever meanings I come up with for myself, who needs me? ”; “Everything was: relatives, family, friends - now alone. The meaning of life is connected with people. Where are they? No people, no meaning and purpose to live. And you about the meaning of life ... ".

Many consider the loss of family as a meaningful loss of life. “If I'm alone now, then everything was bad. What can I talk about? ”,“ Everything was, but someone left, buried someone. Now lonely. So, he lived badly and meanings were bad. ” “I worked hard, went to construction sites. He traveled all over Russia, but did not make a family. What sense can you talk about if you are alone? ”

Some respondents noted the lack of pleasures as a significant loss at the end of their lives. “There was a point. There were goals in life. I wanted a lot. And now for what? What are the pleasures? My stomach hurts, my liver, my kidneys. You can’t even eat in pleasure. Why all these meanings? Empty. " “There were friends, relatives. You will go to visit. And now it’s hard to move, you can’t eat much. The point is, for the sake of something. Now for what? ”

Many participants talk about the reassessment of life values ​​in old age and the importance of material wealth. “I had everything: a house, a car, a whole library, a boat - went fishing. And now he has sold the house, the car has deteriorated, the boat is out of date, and I can’t walk as before. Everything is empty in this life. ” "A lot of what happened in my life, and now I live like a bum."

Thus, we see that the analysis of the own meaning of life in old and old age is associated with a revision of the values ​​of life and negative emotions. We specify the data obtained.

The first place is occupied by the value associated with active professional actions. It is safe to say that participants acutely feel their own physical worthlessness and experience the passivity of their own being.

In second place is the value that relates to communication (deprivation of communication and lack of family). If the first value in the sense of life enables a person to be independent and independent - to build plans, goals, life meanings and translate them into reality - then the second value creates support for a person, provides him with security in various life situations.

In third place is the value associated with material wealth. It should be noted that the women who answered the questionnaire were more negatively inclined and complained about material difficulties, the small size of the pension. The male representatives stoically endured the material difficulties of life.

In fourth place was the value of sensual pleasures and pleasures. Throughout life, a person not only sets goals and defines meanings, but also analyzes them. Consider in more detail our answers to questions about the meaning of life and acme.

When answering the first question, where it was proposed to reveal the concept of the meaning of life, all participants noted that the main thing in the sense of life is to live and do good to people: “live and serve society”; "Live and do good deeds"; “Live and achieve success in professional work”; “Build a career and get material wealth”; “The meaning of life - what we live for”; "The meaning of life is to have a baby, build a house and plant a tree."

Representatives of the second group - people of senile age (from 75 to 90) - answered more penetratingly and philosophically. “The meaning of life is simply to live and remain a decent person in any situation.” "The meaning of life is the many goals that a person realizes while he lives." "The meaning of life is to always be true to yourself."

According to the answers to the first question, the questionnaire participants could also be divided into 2 subgroups depending on what, in their opinion, should be the reversal of good deeds in life. The first subgroup included people who, as life goals, indicated the benefit for society, for other people. “Now you think about life and understand that you had to live more for others, help people more. Maybe then someone would remember me now? ” “To live is to do good. Noticeable benefit to society. That is the point. ” “When you just work, who needs this work? Only for your own earnings. This is not the meaning of life. So, I didn’t have a special meaning in life. There were goals - to earn, buy, take a walk ... Therefore, now I live like that. ” “The meaning of life is to make something noticeable, important for other people (explains: in science, discoveries, politics), and the rest is the goals of life.” "In life, we think little of others and in old age remain alone."

The second subgroup is smaller in number and focuses on the reverse process. “I did everything for the sake of others, but now I realized that I had to live for myself. Then I would have kept my health and it would have been easier in old age. ” “We had to live for life. To support oneself so as not to be a wreck in old age. ” “Raised children, supported a family. I gave everything to them, but now she’s alone and a beggar. ” "Worked, worked hard, everything in the house, but where is he - the house?" “It was necessary, as they say now, to love yourself and take care of yourself. Other people still will not appreciate it, and all is not enough for them. "

The second question about the meaning of the meaning of life revealed the general significance of the meaning of life for a person. "Life for every person is measured by his meanings." "Meaning leads a person through life." "It helps to understand why we were born and suffer." "The meaning of life defines and guides our actions." "The meaning of life helps in difficult times of life to realize what to do." "The meaning of life allows you to plan small goals." "The meaning of life is the hope of life for the beautiful, success."

Two participants in the second group wrote: “We often determine the meaning of life later, when the event happened, or in old age, looking back.” “Understanding of meaning in life comes later, after actions. And then we think that everything was right and destined. ”

The answers to the third question revealed the content of the concept of “acme”: “achievement of personal professional heights”; “Recognition in society”; “Understanding of one’s destiny in life”; "The process of self-development and self-improvement."

Answers of the members of the second group: “A person is aware of“ acme ”when he continues to work.” “You feel acme when you went through the difficulties of life and overcame problems and barriers.” “He overcame difficulties and conquered life, and overcame himself. Victory gives rise to a sense of acme. ”

The fourth question encouraged the participants to evaluate their highest achievements in life and caused strong reflection among the representatives of both groups, as they demanded a reflection on their past life and a debriefing.
Priority values ​​were distributed as follows: great labor success (high results); professional growth (career, competence); joy from work (satisfaction from the process of joint activities and communication with colleagues); respect for others in every sense; the significance of a particular type of activity for society; moral satisfaction; understanding of oneself, comprehension of one's own actions; happiness in the family; birth of children; search and finding a "soul mate" (mutual understanding); safety of own life. Both groups of participants were saddened by people and unfulfilled desires. Many believed that they had little time to do in life.

There is no difference of opinion in the answers to the fifth question. All participants with an equal degree of conviction believed that the meaning of life positively affects the fate of a person.

The answers to the sixth question are grouped as follows:

. YES, more sense - 41%;

. NO, more nonsense - 26%;

. it all depends on the person’s personality and life situations - 33%.

The seventh question became an occasion for participants to reflect, since it was necessary to evaluate their past. In the first group there were more positive answers. In the second - more negative statements: "life flew by quickly, had little time to do"; “Now it seems to me that I've been messing around all my life and have done little”

The eighth question made it possible to identify a list of crucial events in human life: the parental family and its way of life; study in technical schools, universities; war; hunger and destruction, overcoming the difficulties of life; creation of a family; birth of children; meeting with a significant person who influenced the change of fate; baptism in Orthodoxy; the right choice of profession; place of work; cognitive discoveries for yourself.

To question 9 about the possibility of changing the meaning of life with age, all participants answered in the affirmative. "Improving ourselves in life changes our goals and meanings." "Life is flowing and everything is changing." “You think more with age, and sound thoughts and goals come.”

The answers to the tenth question showed that the meaning changes even in old age. “I began to think more about myself and other people. I want to help others. " "Now I want to read a lot, before there was no time to improve." "Learned to forgive more and be condescending." “I understand that there are many interesting professions. Become younger, and you can learn. "

The eleventh question about the dynamics of personal acme introduced dissatisfaction into the souls of participants, and many, with reference to age, deliberately missed it. “There is an idea of ​​acme, but at my age it’s hard to talk about it”, “The disappointment of recent years has changed my idea of ​​my own acme.” “I want to be in the family, and before I ran away from home to work.” “It's hard to be alone. What does acme have to do with it? ”

Answers to the twelfth QUESTION REVEALED THE POSSIBILITY OF INFLUENCE on the formation of the meaning of life: an example of parents (1st place), communication with peers (2nd place), personal life experience (3rd place), reading literature (4th place); communication with teachers and the influence of the media (5th place).

The answers to the thirteenth question emphasized the importance of literary works and professional knowledge for a person. Literature is listed classic and professional. Many noted the influence of books on psychology and works of a spiritual nature (the Bible) on the formation of the meaning of human life. “I used to read little spiritual and psychology books. And now I have free time and began to understand a lot in my life, I comprehend the past years. ”

To the fourteenth QUESTION all affirmatively answered yes; all could more fully realize their creative potential. As obstacles, participants noted: war; devastation and hunger; difficulties in the parent family; difficulties of their own family life (one raised children); tyranny of husband or wife; tyranny of bosses at work; difficulties in work; difficulties associated with the place of residence; material difficulties; own diseases and diseases of loved ones; difficulties in the team (envy, cruelty, falsehood); loneliness.

FIFTEEN QUESTION ALLOWED to discover the possibilities of a person in achieving acme: a clear knowledge of the meaning of his life, the ability to have fun, be aware of his successes, his own emotionality.

Responding to the sixteenth QUESTION, the respondents noted a discrepancy between the everyday and higher “I” of a person. “At home I am a mother, a mistress, an ordinary woman. And at work - a teacher, actress, generator of ideas, leader, “the soul of society”. ” “I was a leading designer in aviation, and at home my husband, father, grandfather.” "The usual mediocrity in everyday life and professional significance."

Responses to the seventeenth QUESTION did not differ from the previous ones.

The eighteenth question turned out to be difficult for the participants, as it required a definition of the meaning of life in this age period. 20 people refused to answer. The rest listed the most significant values ​​for this age: to be useful to people around; to be needed in the family; find a "soul mate"; protect your own health, not be a burden to people; strive more for spirituality.

Questions 19, 20 and 21 were practically ignored by our participants due to age-related features. Lack of active work, loneliness and a fan of illness make these people aggressive or depressed.

This questionnaire was supplemented by a conversation with the participants in the survey on the following topics: 1) When can we assume that life has been excellent?

2) When do we think about the meaning of life?

3) How do we feel about the current state of things in the world?

4) What do we do when it is difficult and bad for us?

5) What's in life for me in the first place

6) What affects the understanding of life?

7) What am I doing alone?

8) Does it depend on us how our life will go?

The answers to these eight questions largely confirmed the previous judgments of the survey participants.

Based on the results of the conversation, we can conclude that it is important to judge the life you have lived by: knowing the world (seeing new places, traveling), gaining fame and popularity, having money for yourself and posterity (material wealth), building a career, a calm and joyful life .

The answers to the second question are: “Unfortunately, we rarely think about the meaning of life. The everyday life, the difficulties of existence, overcoming obstacles do not create the conditions for its understanding. A person thinks about the meaning of life when he is lonely, serious changes occur in life, conditions are created in nature, music, and other people. ”

The third question divided all participants into three groups:

The first group negatively refers to the current state of things in the world: “poor attitude to people”; "animal abuse"; “Spoiled all nature”; “Life has become more difficult”; “Youth has no ideals and values”; "Man has become more callous."

The second group noted progress in society. "Democratic freedoms have appeared." «Развивается прогресс, человек освоил космос, появились новые открытия в науке и технике». «Стало лучше жить».

Третья группа выделила в современном мире положительные и отрицательные стороны. Давая характеристику современному обществу, участники обращали внимание на положительный фактор роста благосостояния людей и на черствость души, «отсутствие духовности, высокой нравственности, патриотизма».

Отвечая на четвертый вопрос, участники беседы указали возможности выхода из трудных жизненных ситуаций:

а) трудотерапия: «когда мне плохо, я мою пол»; «стараюсь что-то делать для себя»; «стараюсь кому-нибудь помочь»; «начинаю вязать»; «что-нибудь мастерю»;

б) общение: «стараюсь говорить с друзьями»; «люблю говорить с чужими людьми в сквере, у подъезда, в транспорте»; «звоню родственникам»;

в) одиночество: «стараюсь запереться в своей комнате и переждать, когда успокоюсь»; «ухожу на природу»; «выхожу гулять с собакой»; «слушаю музыку»;

г) движение к познанию: «беру книгу и читаю»; «слушаю познавательные передачи и смотрю телевизор»; «размышляю о смысле жизни».

Ответы на пятый вопрос распределились по значимости жизненных ценностей:

1) личное здоровье и благополучие;

2) семья;

3) здоровье и благополучие близких людей;

4) активная деятельность;

5) помощь людям (родственникам и друзьям);

6) материальные блага;

7) возможность заниматься своим хобби.

По ответам на шестой вопрос можно выделить 4 главных фактора, способствующих пониманию смысла жизни: религия, путешествия, чтение литературы и общение с разными людьми.

Седьмой вопрос выявил, что люди по-разному относятся к одиночеству. Одиночество является положительным фактором при осмыслении действительности. Некоторые любят быть в одиночестве, так как могут уделить внимание себе, заняться любимым делом, поразмышлять, другие тяжело его переносят, а третьи считают, что все должно быть в меру.

Восьмой вопрос разделил всех участников на несколько групп. Участники первой группы считают, что судьба зависит целиком от целей и смыслов самого человека; вторая группа возлагает ответственность за судьбу на высшие силы; третья группа декларирует огромное влияние семьи, окружения, среды обитания на определение смысложиз-ненных ориентации.

Таким образом, на основе анализа работы с людьми данного возраста можно сделать вывод о том, что люди пожилого и старческого возрастов по-разному переживают этот период жизни и адаптируются в нем. Одни пытаются оставаться активными, если не физически, то через познание, общение с окружающими, творческие планы. Другие смирились с трудностями и ведут пассивный образ жизни. Третьи пребывают в унынии и грустно или агрессивно воспринимают современный мир и свое место в нем. Главное, что важно для людей этого возраста, независимо от изношенности организма, индивидуальных ха-рактерологических качеств личности и протекания в прошлом профессиональной деятельности, - специфика окружения, общения с близкими на данный момент времени и поддержание творческого, социального и интеллектуального потенциала.
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