Name: Ato Addis
Age at interview: 71
Ato Addis is 71 years old and is married with two adult children. He is originally from Ethiopia, and lives in Melbourne after moving to Australia 49 years ago. Ato Addis retired at the age of 55 and is active with his Church.
More about Ato Addis
Ato Addis feels younger than his 71 years, which he puts down to being healthy and socialising with young people in his community. He believes that age is just a number and as long as you are not sick and your mind is working, age should not impose any restrictions. After taking a retirement package at 55, Ato Addis planned to go to university, learn music and write a book. However, his wife became ill and he has not been able to do all the things he planned. Ato Addis would like to find paid work again but feels that after 70 no one wants to employ you. He explains how he has lost the confidence to apply for jobs after being out of the workforce for so long.
Ato Addis keeps himself busy on the computer, which he uses to stay up to date with world news. He finds that it takes longer to learn new things when you are older, and would love to have a one-to-one teacher who can show him different computer applications, such as graphic design. Ato Addis is also heavily involved in his community Church, where he is on the management committee, and has an important role in assisting other Ethiopian immigrants based on his experience in Australia. Ato Addis would like to play more golf and catch up with friends at the pub, but finances limit his ability to participate. He explains that after paying for electricity and food there is not much left when you are on the pension.
After Ato Addis retired, he and his wife now spend all their time together. He has found that it is important to have your own interests and room to do things independently of each other. He worries about what would happen if he is no longer able to look after his wife or himself. He explains that unlike Ethiopian children, Australian children are not expected to look after their parents in old age. If he has to go to a nursing home, Ato Addis would like to go through an Aboriginal organisation as his wife is Aboriginal and he likes that the services are run by people who know you; he feels they treat you more like family than mainstream services.
Ato Addis would like to achieve something in his older years. He believes that the government and private sector are not harnessing the potential of the ageing population and that there should be more employment avenues for older people rather than just living and receiving the pension. While he might not be able to work an eight hour day or do physical labour, Ato Addis feels that he can continue to be productive and contribute through teaching and passing his experience onto the younger generation.