Graduation Date

Summer 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Sociology

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Renée Byrd

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Christina Martinek

Subject Categories



Age is a ubiquitous concept. One minute we are counting down the days until our birthday and the next minute we are ignoring the fact our birthdays exist. Society’s aging population is rapidly growing and is expected to double nearly double by 2050, this increase in population has led to a shift in treatment and attitudes towards both those who are aging and aging itself. There is currently a gap in the literature on aging experiences coming from those experiencing it; rather those in medical professions often dictate these experiences. To help fill those gaps this thesis explores how older adults conceptualize their aging experiences. I conducted 12 semi-structured in-depth interviews with 13 older adults who reside in Humboldt County. For my analysis, I utilized Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. Using this form of discourse analysis, I focused on the relationships of power expressed through language and knowledge that existed between older adults and their connections with both society and medical institutions. These interviews revealed their body primarily dictates an older adult’s aging experience. This understanding influences them to make more conscientious choices when it comes to caring for and addressing the changes of their aging bodies, for the body also influences how others see them. Everyone experiences aging differently and their community involvement are dependent upon the individual, in which one’s idea of successful aging may be different than someone else's definition. However, for medical professionals, successful aging can be seen as aging prevention.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location