Name: Dorothy
Age at interview: 88
Gender: Female

Dorothy is 88 years old and Anglo-Australian. She is a retired homemaker who has raised five children and she has a number of grandchildren. Dorothy lives on her own in a retirement village in Sydney. Dorothy is a widow and is not religious.

More about Dorothy

Dorothy sees no use in complaining about growing old, as there is no choice in the matter. She has had to give up going on trips because of back pain and now only does one thing a day so that she does not become exhausted. However, she believes that finding joy in what she can do has helped her accept ageing and feel more positive about growing older. She has been lucky to have had few health issues compared to others her age, and she feels she has received excellent medical care. One of the most significant things Dorothy has done for her health was to see a psychologist who treated her psychosomatic illness, which she experienced as physical pain related to anxiety. Her current major concern is her vision, as she struggles with depth perception. Because of this, she needs to use a stick when she is out. She is still getting used to it but she will persevere as it is important to her to keep walking.

Dorothy needed time to accept having to use a hearing aid and, now that she also has problems with her vision, she prefers to avoid being in groups of people. She is fully aware that this means she is becoming more socially isolated, but she accepts this. She is happy to spend most of her time listening to the radio, watching some television, knitting and keeping in contact with her children by phone or email. She also makes the most of her limited activities, such as window shopping in stores that sell beautiful clothes and jewellery when she goes out to buy groceries. Dorothy also has a great passion for creative writing which she started at a class in her retirement village. She says writing has changed her life. She once wrote about her son who died many years ago and shared it in the confidence of her writing group, which was an 'absolute release' for her and 'lifted a burden off my back'.

Dorothy is very close to her family and often sees family members who live locally. She finds it a great comfort 'just knowing they are there'. She feels that, over the past few years, her children are increasingly giving their opinion on what she should do, but she sees this as their concern for her and feels fortunate that she has their support. This is particularly important to Dorothy now that so many of her friends have passed away. She finds it somewhat bothersome to remember the names of new people and would rather spend time with her family than make new friends. She is, however, adamant that she will not become dependent on her family and will allow them to live their own lives.

Dorothy became a life member of Voluntary Euthanasia following discussions about the issue with a group of friends she meets with weekly. She has made arrangements with her family that she is not to be resuscitated but she has not considered active euthanasia for herself. She has plans for her ashes which she has shared with her family. Dorothy is comfortable with ageing now that she has accepted that 'everything comes to an end'.