Tony is 62 years old, unemployed, and lives alone. He brought photographs to his interview which helped us understand three key themes of his current life: staying in balance, impact of time, and space to be (or not to be).
Staying in balance
“I got a big bucket full of these elders just from this bush right outside my house and I went on the internet and I found a recipe for boiling them up with some lemon and sugar and what else- grated orange peel and I made this really nice kind of drink full of vitamin C and that was only a couple of litres of it but it was really nice.”
When Tony had enough money, he could afford cholesterol-busting margarine. Unfortunately, his finances had worsened through a mistake with his benefit calculations. This meant days when all he had to eat was a bag of chips or boiled rice. To offset this impact on his health and well-being, Tony was able to make the most of nutritious berries growing wild in the street outside his house. However, these will not last long and his balance remains precarious.
Impact of time
“You can’t really avoid that you know I am ageing although in myself I- you know I feel in some ways a little bit lighter than I did when I was a young man you know more healthy in- in some ways. More in control of my life.”
Tony brought several photographs illustrating some of the negative physical impacts of ageing such has his feeling of being less attractive to potential romantic partners. However, he looked on the bright side and expressed gratitude that he had lived this long and had had the foresight to keep reasonable care of himself. He also experienced some positive impacts of being a senior man, particularly feeling mentally lighter and more in control of his life than he was as a younger man.
Space to be (or not to be)
“It’s great to get out and walk in the country and I wouldn’t do it on my own. It’s the sociability as well. I feel like they respect me for what I’ve done and that I’m you know somewhere where I feel kind of valued by them as a group.”
Social spaces have a lot of meaning for Tony. He had played in a band for ten years and found it “a great place for meeting people.” Now, walking or going to see a film with his friends makes him feel valued and increases his well-being.