Age at interview: 70
Marlene is a 70 year old mother of four. She has five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Marlene works part-time as a project officer. She is widowed and lives on her own in Perth, Western Australia. Marlene was born in Australia and practices Buddhism.
More about Marlene
Marlene has had two hip replacements in the last 18 months. She explains that physical health issues are the main negative aspects to ageing. However, she feels she has been very lucky with her health and does not take any medication. Swimming is very important for her fitness, particularly her joints, and she enjoys swimming three times a week.
Marlene describes her recent experience in hospital as 'astounding'. She feels she was treated as a stereotype of a 70 year old and not for who she is or her abilities. Being called 'love', 'darling' and 'sweetie' feels condescending to Marlene. She thinks it is important for health providers to recognise that older people are not all the same and they should be treated as individuals and with respect. Marlene believes the media has an important role to play as they often depict older people as being decrepit and no good to anybody. Instead, they should focus on stories of older people doing amazing things or significant older role models in our society.
Marlene always believed she would retire at 65, however, she now feels it is difficult to let go when her projects are on-going. While she currently works shorter days, she plans to continue working because she can. Marlene also does some volunteer work in the aged care sector, which she finds a very rewarding experience.
Marlene was brought up Christian but was introduced to Buddhism 20 years ago, and this resonated with her as the right path. When she retires she plans to study the Buddhist modules in more depth because it takes a lot of time and mental effort. Marlene volunteers at the Buddhist temple because she feels it is important to give and this is seen as a form of 'merit'. She believes volunteering is the greatest thing a person can do and that for older people, particularly, it can change their lives.
For Marlene, the best thing about getting older is the wisdom she has gained. She is now able to sit back and look at a situation instead of jumping in feet first.