Erickson tells us that the review of one's life helps the elderly person to increase their well being by looking at the conflicts in their life and comparing them to past experience. He felt this was the stage in life in which the task was to look back and try to integrate the feelings and memories of the past into the present. Sometimes this is a difficult task but if the person is able to do this they will be able to deal with the negative experiences they have had and turn them into integrity and wisdom.
May is seventy two years old which would put her in Erickson's's eighth stage of life or that of maturity. She had many conflicts and challenges. She raised three children, two boys and a girl in a small town. She had some difficulty relating to them when they were young and she sees little of them now. She developed breast cancer a couple of years ago and had surgery and chemotherapy. Her tests are now negative. She lives alone, has very little income, and has no transportation.
May has many things to deal with to come to the point of coherence in her lifetime. She will need to reflect back on her time with her children and be able to determine in her own right whether the conflicts she had could have been changed or were they just what had to happen at that time in her life.