Age at interview: 65
Edith is a 65 year old single mother of four and has two grandchildren. She was born and raised in Australia and lives by herself in Perth, WA. Edith has volunteered most of her life and this continues to be an important aspect of her life as she gets older.
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More about Edith
Edith raised her children as a single parent and feels that she is better off financially now that she is a pensioner. She lives in government housing and would like to see more assistance with maintenance and security, because the elderly can be targeted by people breaking and entering. While Edith does not feel a specific sense of community in her neighbourhood, she does believe that her neighbours would look after her if she had a problem.
Edith considers herself healthy and does not suffer from any particular health issues. She was brought up on a farm eating a lot of mashed potato, scones and cakes. After she gained weight she started educating herself about nutrition and now recognises the importance of consuming fresh fruit and vegetables rather than packaged food. Her advice is to refrain from buying sweet foods and pastries when shopping at the supermarket, so they are not in the house to eat.
Edith enjoys walking and swimming, even though it takes two bus trips to get to the local pool. Because there are not many amenities in her local area and she does not drive a car, it takes a lot of effort to get around on public transport. Having a small supermarket in her suburb would be a big help for her and other older people who do not have cars. Edith does not travel on public transport at night because she feels there are too many dangers in the streets now compared with when she was a child. She is concerned about the stories reported in the media, where elderly people are being bashed in their homes. She believes that if she had a car she would be a lot safer.
It bothers Edith when young people sit in the seats designated for the disabled and elderly on public transport. She also finds that some shop assistants treat her like she does not exist and it makes her feel awful. She believes these issues in society could be improved by teaching children values. Her advice to young people would be to think of other people and be patient, don't push past older people just to get served first.
Volunteering is a big part of Edith's life and she has been a volunteer in various roles for 40 years. At first volunteering was a way of giving her children opportunities within those organisations then she found she enjoyed it so much she continued. She now volunteers because she likes helping people. Edith has continued to upgrade her skills through TAFE courses, at first to improve her chances of employment but later to be able to work with computers in her volunteer positions.
Edith describes the wonder she felt holding her granddaughter when she was first born. She would like to see her grandchildren more but they live in a country town a few hours away. For Edith, being a grandmother means you do not have the same level of responsibility as when you are a mother, and you can just be there to love them. Edith enjoys going away on bus trips to see different parts of Australia and wants to continue doing this well into her old age. She thinks it is important to have interests, especially when you live on your own as it gives you people to talk to and interact with during the day. For Edith, it doesn't matter what age you are, you need to be out doing some activity and using your brain. She encourages people to get out of the house and to find information about groups and clubs through their local council.