Life Review MM Case

Life Review MM Case


LifeReview: MM Case


Universityof Texas Arlington

LifeReview: MM Case

MMis a 74 year old African woman, living with her daughter in FarmersBranch Texas, United States. Born and raised in Nakuru, Kenya, MM isa first born in a family of nine siblings. During her childhood shelived with her parents and her four sisters and three brothers inKiambu, a village in Kenya. She describes her childhood as a happylife. Even though they did not have much, her parents good and they‘spoiled us” she said. She describes her dad to be a lenientdisciplinarian and her mum to be the strict one. She was very closeto all of them. She went to grade school and then high school, butgot married shortly after high school. She said that education wasnot encouraged for the girl child in her society in those old days.Her and her husband had five girls and two boys.

Shedescribes her married life as one of the most difficult period of herlife. To make the matters worse, she says that her husband wasviolent and abusive. She was a housewife and fully depended on herhusband for everything. Despite the abusive marriage, she decided tostay married for the sake of the kids and their educational needs.She knew if she left her husband, she would not be able to raise andeducate her kids. Therefore, she divorced her husband after all herkids were grown and able to support themselves. She explains that shewas devoted to bringing up her kids, despite the difficult marriage.

Sheand her husband lived on a farm, where they practiced agriculture.She used to work on the farm to grow food for her kids. She also keptsome farm animals like chicken, goats and cows. She enjoyed workingon the farm and continued with agriculture to get food for thefamily. Apart from her husband, she had no other close relative whocould support financially. She explains that she lost her closestbrother at the age of forty. This, she describes was a very difficultexperience in her life. Despite the difficulties in life, she findspeace in God and she is a spiritual person, who attends churchregularly.

Afterdivorcing her husband, she moved to the United States of America, tolive with her oldest daughter, three years ago. She now has sevengrandchildren between the age of two and twenty three years. She isproud to be a grandmother and loves taking care of her grandchildren.In addition, she has many friends of her age whom she visits often.She is planning to stay here for a while, but eventually going backto Kenya. I chose to interview her because we attend the same churchand her daughter is a close friend of mine. When I asked her for aninterview she was excited and she looked forward to.

Ordinarily,people remember to talk about bits of their life, but in life reviewthey talk about life from childhood, through adolescence toadulthood. A life review is a planned and time-bound review whereordinary remembrance is described as a by the way (Scott &ampDebrew, 2009). Life review and ordinary memory seem to increase withage. This life review enabled MM to remember things that she wouldnot have remembered in her ordinary day to day life. She laughed andsmiled a lot as she narrated her life. She thanked me several timesbecause of choosing to interview her. She mentioned severally thatshe never had an opportunity to narrate her entire life before. Inoticed her mood was also changing when she was describing herdifferent life experiences.

Lifereview enables nurses to better understand their patients, valuethem, and decrease any negative stereotypes they may have about olderadults (Scott &amp Debrew, 2009). It promotes meaning and purpose tothe older adults’ lives and to the nurses taking care of them. Thisreview created a connection between me and her during the interview.She showed me the pictures of all her and grandchildren and explainedwhere all of them were in life. She would also lighten up withconfidence as she described her accomplishments, especially thosethat I agreed to. This created a connection between us as shenarrated.

Lifereview has also been found to improve self-esteem in older adults(Scott &amp Debrew, 2009). Reviewing a person’s life also helpsolder adults to eliminate negative thoughts about themselves byallowing them to recognize their accomplishments and achievements.The review also helps people to cope with loss, guilt, conflict ordefeat (Ernst, Marte, Pim &amp Filip, 2007). According to Ernst etal (2007), life review helps promote acceptance and reconciliation.Moreover, the review enables older adults to focus on their valuesthey have acquired from the past and enhances their future plans(Ernst et al, 2007). Life review also helps individuals to focus onwhat they have learned in life and use the same techniques toovercome any difficulties in their current and future life.

Basedon my life review with MM, on a score of 0 to 10 on attainingintegrity, I would give her a score of 10. My reason for giving her ascore of 10 is because she was able to talk about her failures andstruggles without seeming to be overwhelmed. At the same time, shedid not dwell on the failures and regrets in her life. Instead, shestated that the failures and the difficult moments were what made herwho she is today. However, she regrets having been married at a youngage and being in an abusive relationship for a long time. She statesthat this experience taught her lessons that she uses to counsel manyyoung ladies that are contemplating early marriage.

Accordingto Hearn, Saulnier, Staryer, Glenham, Koopman and Marcia (2012),integrated individuals can explain the main influences that formedtheir character. She says that she feels like she can handleanything that life throws at her, because she has grown stronger towithstand challenges. She stated that, “if life throws you lemons,you might as well make lemonade.” She explained that she devotedher life to bringing up her kids as the primary purpose. She is proudof her children who are all successful and are now taking care ofher. She is also proud of having served the Lord since she was youngup to this time. She explained how she volunteered in the church toserve other people, which made her feel like she contributed to theirlife in general.

Currently,she surrounds herself with her family and friends who are proud ofher achievements. She stated that she has no fear of death becauseshe knows that she has fulfilled her goal here on earth. In fact, sheexplained that even if dies, she is certain of going to heaven to bewith the Lord. She stated that she values the aspects of quality liferather than the quantity of life. This is what makes her value ahealthy life, rather than an affluent life. However, she added thatif she was to be very sick, she would not like to live a lifeconnected to machines just to be alive.

Thisinterview was a very enlightening experience for me. I learned a lotfrom MM than I had expected before the interview. One thing thatstood out is that it is good for one to realize one’s goal in lifeat an early age. Such a realization helps a person to devote moretime to what is important, and avoid spending the young age to pleaseothers (Hearn et al, 2012). I also learned that it’s good forpeople to count each and every accomplishment in life, even thoughthey might appear small or insignificant to other people. Thoseaccomplishments give us a sense of meaning to life. According toShellman (2006), such achievements also improve our self-esteem.

Onething that was very difficult to listen to was when, MM talked abouther abusive marriage. It was difficult to listen her explain howabusive and violent her husband was in their marriage. Since MM was ahousewife, she could not afford to bring up her kids on her own, acircumstance that forced her to stay in the abusive marriage. I feltsorry as she explained how she endured domestic violence for 30years. However, I was able to use therapeutic communication, whichimproved the interview conversation. I realized how tough andselfless she is to be able to withstand that just for the sake of herkids.

Asa professional nurse, I would encourage older adults to share theirlife experience from childhood to adulthood. I encourage them toshare about their jobs and family life through storytelling. By doingso, they would remember their accomplishments, difficulties, failuresand regrets in their life (Scott &amp Debrew, 2009). According toHearn et al (2012), this memory helps people to find a meaning inlife. Life review in this case helped me as a nurse, to understandthe older adults that I take care of. Besides, life review for olderadults has been found to improve self-esteem by integratingstorytelling as an intervention between them and their past lifeexperiences (Scott &amp Debrew, 2009). Therefore, nurses can behelpful by using life review to enable older adults feel satisfiedwith their achievements and gain self-esteem.

Moreover,life review also helps nurses to reflect about their own lives(Shellman, 2006). After my life review with MM, I started thinkingabout my legacy. In my own words, I would describe legacy to be whatone is remembered about a person after he or she dies. Thinking aboutthe legacy makes a person reflect on his or her entire life(Shellman, 2006).

WhenI think of a legacy, it makes me think about the life I have lived,the life I am living now and the life I want to live in the future.It makes me think of how I can touch other people’s lives with whatI have learned in life so far. When I think about my legacy it makesme want to devote more time to what I believe will positively changethe lives of other people. I have therefore taken courage to devotemy life on what will enhance my spirituality, build my family,strengthen my relationships and improve other people’s lives.


Ernst,B., Marte R., Pim C., Filip S. (2007). The effects of reminiscence onpsychological well-being in older adults: A meta-analysis. Aging&amp Mental Health,Vol. 11,Iss. 3,2007

Hearn,S., Saulnier, G., Strayer, J., Glenham, M., Koopman, R., &ampMarcia, J. E. (2012). Between integrity and despair: Toward constructvalidation of Erikson’s eighth stage. Journalof Adult Development,19(1), 1-20

Scott,K., &amp DeBrew, J. K. (2009). Helping older adults find meaning andpurpose through storytelling. Journalof Gerontological Nursing,35(12), 38-43.

Shellman,J. (2006). &quotMaking a connection&quot: BSN students` perceptionsof their reminiscence experiences with older adults. TheJournal of Nursing Education,45(12), 497-503.