Name: Lyn and Robin
Age at interview: 67 and 66
Gender: Female and male
Lyn and Robin are both retired teachers. Lyn is 67 and Robin is 66, and they have three sons and one grandchild. They migrated from South Africa 40 years ago and live together in their family home in Perth, Western Australia. Lyn had a stroke in 2004, which meant they both had to retire early but she has since recovered well. They are both practicing Catholics.
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More about Lyn and Robin
Ageing has brought about a lot of changes for Lyn with regard to work. She had a stroke 10 years ago, which meant she retired years before she had planned to. Initially she missed work intensely, particularly the contact with colleagues and students. She describes how it took her a couple of years to let go. Doing voluntary work at the school helped with the transition to retirement. She says the voluntary work did her the world of good in terms of recovering from the stroke and boosting her self-esteem. Lyn feels it is important to take the time to gradually wind down from work life rather than stopping dead. Robin also retired when his wife had a stroke, however, he continued to work part-time until two years ago. They both still tutor in their spare time.
For Lyn having the stroke was a large part of getting older. She regained the ability to walk quite quickly but her writing and speech were affected and she was conscious that words were not coming out correctly. Lyn found that after her stroke the health services were fantastic. They helped her with speech therapy and getting back into the workforce. However, Lyn believes that in general just going to the doctor is not enough as they only treat the symptoms of the problem. She stresses the importance of shopping around, seeking a second opinion, talking to other people and understanding the side effects of prescription drugs. Lyn has always been proactive in her approach to health and does a lot of internet research about food, medication and natural supplements (of which turmeric is very important). She feels this preventative approach to health was almost a preparation for needing to recover from a stroke.
Robin says that his wife watches what he eats and he has stayed healthy because of this. While he would prefer curry or sausages, he says, he has adapted and is happy to eat the vegetables she cooks because in the end he knows it is a healthier lifestyle, which will result in a better quality of life as he ages. Robin likes to keep fit. He cycles and walks. He used to be much more active, playing soccer and running half marathons but now finds he gets severe pain when he runs. He has also noticed he is not as steady on his feet and falls over easily. He recently had a minor cycling accident and felt that when he was younger he would have been more alert and prevented the situation. These incidents make him more aware that he is getting older, that his brain sends a message but his body does not respond.
Robin and Lyn both like to read and travel. They recently bought a caravan and want to see more of Australia while they are still physically fit. They do cryptic crosswords together to keep their minds active and say a lot of people in their age group do the same. Robin feels they have grown closer in their older years and that it is much better being two than being on your own. Lyn feels they are doing more things together as they get older, like going to the library and walking, however, she has also realised how different their tastes and interests are. In their younger years they were so busy working she did not realise how different they were, yet they still get along. Lyn feels they have more time to be close and describes how lovely it is to get back into bed and not have to go to work. She feels she would survive better without him than he would without her because she shops and cooks. She worries about him being on his own.
Religion is an important part of Lyn and Robin's social life. Many of their friends and neighbours attend the same church. Robin is reluctant to downsize from their family home as they would lose their friends in the neighbourhood, which they have had for decades. Therefore they decided to renovate their home and intend to stay for another 10 years. Lyn would like to move while they are still able and before it becomes a problem for their children. They plan to move to a Catholic retirement village in the next 10 years. They have been thinking about the different housing options as they age. They want to have a place where they can pass away with dignity.
Lyn believes that if your health is fine, if you are okay financially and if your partner is still with you then you can thoroughly enjoy what life has to offer as you get older. Robin feels that because they planned early enough in life financially and went without in their younger years they can now enjoy their old age and the time they have on their hands.