Name: Brian X
Age at interview: 79
Brian is a 79 year old father of two children in their 50s. He is widowed and identifies as a non-practicing Christian. Brian left school at age 14 and worked in the transport industry until he retired at age 60. He lives in his apartment on his own in Darwin, Northern Territory.
More about Brian X
Brian describes ageing as a gradual process and while he has noticed some physical limitations such as not being able to bend down as easily, he has found ageing overall to be a pleasant experience. For Brian, wellbeing as you age is dependent primarily on diet and exercise. He avoids fatty foods, eats fruit and vegetables and walks 5km every morning. Brian would like to stay as healthy as possible because his biggest fear is being incapacitated, not able to look after himself and thus a burden on others.
Brian is a widower and it was very traumatic for him to lose his wife of 33 years. He describes how he nursed her for two and a half years after she had surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Brian was then diagnosed with prostate cancer and was treated with radiation therapy. He could not undergo treatment in Darwin and chose to go to his home town of Albury rather than Adelaide. This was important because Brian was worried about being isolated for three and half months in a city where he did not know anyone, and in Albury he had family support and somewhere to stay. After his treatment, Brian subsequently suffered from radiation proctitis. He believes that men should be monitored more regularly for prostate cancer as they get older.
Brian was a keen fisherman but sold his boat after his wife died as it was not as enjoyable going on his own. He finds satisfaction from doing the crosswords in the paper and believes this is good for his brain. Brian also keeps active through volunteer roles and has positions on the board of several community organisations. He finds this work very rewarding as it keeps him busy, gives him things to think about and often there are not enough hours in the day. He says that he would find life very unfulfilling if he stayed at home and watched television and read books every day.
Brian's children live interstate but they visit and phone each other often. He says his children have been looking at retirement villages near them but he is not ready for that yet. Brian believes it is a mistake for older people to move and follow their children because this entails cutting ties with friends and relatives. He would like to stay in his apartment for as long as he can but he does recognise that people often leave the decision to enter a retirement village or aged care facility until it is too late and they can no longer participate in the decision.
While Brian describes himself as technically challenged, he has a mobile phone and an iPad and uses the computer predominantly for email and booking travel. He believes that if he persists he will gradually learn what he needs to know. As he gets older, Brian tries to stay positive and focus on the things he can contribute to the community and how he can look after his own health and wellbeing.