Summary Of The Last Days Of Ptolemy Grey By Walter Mosley

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The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, by Walter Mosley, offered a unique insight into the mind of an elderly person struggling with dementia. Seeing the world through Mr. Grey’s perspective gave me a new appreciation for our elderly and the problems they face on a daily basis. Mr. Grey is an elderly man struggling with the beginning stages of dementia. He is no longer able to care for himself and has family members that come to take care of him, though Mr. Grey only trusts a select few people to do so. His physical and cognitive abilities have declined with age and make it difficult for him to get around and communicate with people. He also struggles to understand some of the language people use. This demonstrates the generational gap he experiences …show more content…

Grey learned to read and interact with others in a certain way. When he encounters the policemen on his outing with his great grandnephew Hilly he remembers his lessons as a child with his friend and mentor Coydog McCann. He believes that he must “protect the young colored man from the cops” (Mosley, 2010, p. 22) and that they must be respectful and “speak to the white cop” not the colored one (Mosley, 2010, p. 24). Mr. Grey also tends to focus on skin color as he interacts with various people. He notes the different tones of reds or browns in their skin and how dark it is compared to his or someone else’s. This may have something to do with the time period he grew up in and how he related to those around him. He frequently retreats to his memories where he relives experiences he has had, the majority of which revolve around race and acts of oppression he witnessed as a child. As he ages Mr. Grey’s health deteriorates, though like many elderly persons he wants to believe he is in good health and does not need a doctor. So when a social worker comes to his apartment and tries to give Mr. Grey a referral for a memory specialist he immediately refuses to let the man in telling him, “I’m not sick. I don’t need no doctor…Go away and leave me alone” (Mosley, 2010, p. 53). Mr. Grey does not appear to be a religious man, but when he encounters the unorthodox doctor trying to prescribe him a dangerous, trial …show more content…

Grey I would have done things differently than the social worker from the novel. First I would have wanted to see and speak with Mr. Grey before providing any referrals for medical care. I would have done some research into his background and tried to find out more about what problems he was facing. According to Erickson’s psychosocial stages older adults tend to become more satisfied with their lives and feel more successful in life if their goals are accomplished (Cherry, n.d.). However, studies have shown that an older adult’s satisfaction with their quality of life is also closely related to their health and poor health can cause one to feel they have a poor quality of life and result in dissatisfaction (Xavier, Ferraz, Marc, Escosteguy, & Moriguchi, 2003). I would ask Mr. Grey what he views as his problems and we would work together based on what he identified. After Reggie’s death, Mr. Grey became more aware of his need for medical intervention to regain his cognitive functioning. As his social worker I would refer Mr. Grey to any doctors or specialists I thought could help him, though I would not accept money to push him towards an illegal drug trial. While working with Mr. Grey I would also be mindful of my tone and attitude towards him so as to not portray any kind of perceived authority over him. Growing up during the early 1990’s he was taught to fear or shutout any person of authority who is of a different race. Exhibiting any kind of

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