Name: Elaine H
Age at interview: 82
Elaine is an 82 year old mother of three. She has eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Elaine completed year 9 at high school and was a home-maker. She is now a widow and lives by herself in a retirement village on the fringes of Melbourne, Victoria.
More about Elaine H
Elaine has been very healthy in her old age. She does not take any medication and still does the housework without having to stop for a rest. However, she does admit she cannot do all the things she used to because she gets tired more easily. She now spaces her activities through the week rather than trying to do them all in one day. While Elaine does not feel as old as she is, she says one positive aspect of ageing is that she is not expected to do as much, for example when she visits family she can sit down and relax while others do the dishes.
Elaine says her mind is still quite good but she finds it difficult to remember things such as telephone numbers and other small details. She can see she is suffering the same memory loss as her father. She finds this annoying but is thankful it has not significantly affected her daily functioning, as she does not forget to eat or clean.
Elaine lives in a retirement village. Initially she was not so keen on the thought of living in such a place and it was her husband who wanted to move there. He had a bad heart for a number of years and after he passed away Elaine was able to appreciate all the activities village life has to offer. She says there is always something to do and you can be as busy as you like. Elaine feels she is not a people person and is usually happy to potter around the house and chat to her neighbours. Her husband was much more gregarious and she misses him dreadfully.
Elaine and her husband travelled with friends to England and Europe in their older years. She feels she has now seen those places and can no longer be bothered with international travel. She does, however, still travel interstate regularly to visit family. Elaine keeps busy knitting baby clothes for her great-grandchildren or for charity. She explains her role as a great-grandmother as less hands-on because the children have their own grandmothers to babysit them. She is therefore like an older grandma, and her family members send her little letters and come by to see her. Elaine says that family is the most important thing and feels she is very lucky to have daughters who live close by.