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used to evaluate Morrie, he would score very low on all items (Mazzocato, 2000). Psychologically, Morrie is doing very well. SOCIOLOGICAL – PERSONAL HISTORY AND CURRENT TREATMENTMorrie lives in an affluent Northeastern city in the United States (Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie, 1997). Morrie has spent the majority of his life as a sociology professor at Brandeis University. He was well liked by his students and known by many as an excellent teacher. Morrie was forced into retirement due to the reoccurring symptoms that accompany ALS, such as the loss of his motor skills. This aspect of the disease also caused Morrie to stop one of his
favorite activities, dancing. “Morrie danced by himself. He shimmied and fox-trotted, he did old dances to modern rock music. He closed his eyes and fell into the rhythm, twirling and spinning and clapping his hands” (Albom, A professor uses death to show us how to live, 1995). Fortunately, as the disease effects his physical abilities and his body, Morrie remains realistic, insisting that he keeps his mind working by teaching Mitch , “…the meaning of life” (Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie, 1997). On a macro or community level, Morrie does not suffer from any discrimination due to race, ethnicity or gender. However, typically, an elderly person would experience ageism at some point in their life. In addition, suffering from ALS and/or any other disability would confera lower societal status (Zastrow, 2013). The lower societal status could threaten Morrie’s mental health, but he appears to be adequately buffered by a strong mezzo system, consisting of family, friends, students and former colleagues (Ogden, 1999). On a micro level, Morrie appears to be an outgoing, gregarious and good-humored individual, who has remained intellectually sharp and active (Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie, 1997); therefore, Morrie does not have any impairment that would prevent social interactions. On a mezzo level, Morrie is receiving love and care from his family, friends, former students andcolleagues (Ogden, 1999). Compared to other patients in palliative care, patients with ALS tend to be less of a burden on caregivers; however, with increased symptom severity and behavioral problems the burden can become significant enough to threaten the psychological health of caregivers (Hecht, 2005). Morrie’s caregivers do not appear to be at risk due to the large numberof people, informal and professional, involved in his care. Should this change as Morrie nears the end of his life, additional support could be obtained on a macro level from the U.S.
6healthcare system. Based on this assessment, Morrie would score very low on the INTERMED social items (Mazzocato, 2000).