Name: Dot
Age at interview: 85
Gender: Female

Dot is 85 years old, has been widowed for five years and lives in Sydney on her own. She is a retired teacher and has recently finished her PhD. Dot has raised three children and she has a number of grandchildren.

More about Dot

Dot is very conscientious in making sure she remains active in her later years. The increase in physical work she needs to do to maintain her home is one of the major changes she noticed after her husband died but she sees this as an opportunity to keep moving. She has recently given up home help to clean the floors so she can do all the housework to be active. She finds it easier to do one room each day. Dot has recently noticed that she does not have the physical resilience she had when she was younger. She finds she tires more readily and, for this reason, she now only drives short distances. She feels fortunate to have everything she needs in her local, inner-city area. Her family helps her out if she needs to travel further afield. During the preparation of her doctoral dissertation, Dot found that she would become so immersed in her writing that she would forget to eat. Her son noticed this and arranged for an electronic wristband that records her activities. Dot finds this reassuring and feels more secure that her son is looking out for her welfare 'from a distance'. Dot lost her husband and two daughters in five years, so she greatly values her son and his partner. She enjoys seeing her grandchildren on school holidays and watching them develop their individual personalities and interests.

It is also important to Dot to keep her mind active. Now that her PhD has been awarded, she wants to help and encourage her daughter-in-law who, as an Aboriginal woman, is writing her own story. Dot reads copious amounts of non-fiction and is challenging herself to read more fiction. She also stays in contact with friends online, particularly with those who live some distance away. Dot has used computers for many years and finds the internet indispensable for maintaining contact with people, accessing information and helping with things like shopping now that she is less mobile.

Dot and her husband, who was Chinese-Australian, were members of a number of Chinese associations. She has great respect for the Chinese-Australian community and always feels very welcome by them. She admires their attitudes towards life. She feels that she receives the same respect that her husband did and her sense of belonging to the community has not stopped even though he has passed away.

Now that Dot has completed her PhD, she is looking for local groups to join to fill her time and maintain social contact in person. She is also looking forward to a trip with her son, for him to see where she grew up. She is in the process of divesting herself of her house in the hope that it may one day be used to benefit Aboriginal people in education, a cause she is passionate about.

Dot has had an excellent experience of health and social services, particularly when her husband was very unwell prior to his death. They needed quite a bit of support for him to stay at home, which was important to them. Dot and her family are very attached to the family home and she intends to stay there as long as possible. In the meantime, Dot is enjoying the freedom of wider choice that comes with age and is looking forward to new occupations in the coming year.