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Martine F.

MF

by Flora R.

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NAME: MF

Woman: 69 years old

Place of birth: Vannes, Brittany, France

Place of residence: Plescop, Brittany, France

Nationality: F

 

Once upon a time…

 

Childhood and adolescence

Local family. Until she was 10, the whole family lived in the same house: the mother, housewife, father, chief police inspector, and 3 children on the 3rd floor, uncles and aunts on the 2nd floor, and the grandmother on the ground floor: a strong-minded woman, loved by her family, active in the local trade.

At school, MF suffered from dyslexia which had not been detected yet: it did not hinder her joy in life.

 

Adulthood until retirement

From the age of 7 to 21, she belonged to girl scouts while living with her parents. At the age of 24, she married a vet, very athletic, also rugby player; the couple with their 3 children shared many sports activities. She was a stay-at-home mom. Widowed at the age of 38, she returned to school, studied accounting and brought up her 3 children alone for 15 years. Then she met a new companion with children, a landscaper, and took over the accounts of his business. This new companion died 15 years later, of Charcot disease. Another blow in her life.

MF

Position towards the elderly in childhood

Has always had much esteem for the elderly: her grandmother was a figure, a model for her, always present in the family : "we would never have left her alone! every Sunday she would come and take a walk with us.”

 

Previously her grandmother had a cafe-grocery store in Quiberon (Brittany) and her grandfather who was a cod fisherman (would leave home for several months in a row). He died of sepsis from the fall of a mast on his leg. This grandmother hid French paratroopers from the sight of Germans during the WWII, at the back of her shop: German soldiers came, threatened her, but could not find the French soldiers who could then leave.

Her grandmother was one of the first women to buy and drive a Citroën car in Vannes, without any driving license at the time!

 

Intergenerational family links

Her parents took care of their mother just as the grand-mother and her sister had taken care of their parents. The grand-mother had also cared for and hosted her father-in-law in her home before he entered a retirement home for elderly where she would visit him every day.

 

MF

Today

 

Compare what you thought of old age… and what it really is.

MF was expecting to go on living with her companion, which did not happen.

Relationships between parents and children have changed: she never thought she would have to take care of her grandchildren as much as she does.

 

Life today

As she feels like a young grandmother, she takes care of the education of her grandchildren, their parents being very busy at work. For her, roles are reversed; today, at 70, one is very young.

 

Widowhood turned her life plans upside down, she neither imagined ending up alone in her house, without a companion, nor as present and sought after, by her children and grandchildren.

 

She acknowledges having a comfortable material life and good communication with those close to her.

 

Daily habits in the present

Besides babysitting her grandchildren very often, she takes part in cultural associations activities (painting, sports, travel, making costumes for historical parades, etc.)

Leisure: hiking, cinema, cultural outings. She has always had a pet but now hesitates in replacing the dog she lost recently : "This is an important bond".

Daily media

Watches a little TV, listens to cultural broadcasts on the radio. Uses Internet, a smartphone which seems essential to her because "everyone is connected .... by obligation! “(Whether for appointments, information, Tax Centre, etc.)

 

What drives her forward

All the life trials she went through because she never gave up. She realises the chance to age while both her companions did not have the same.

 

Roles of retirees

Give an example to grandchildren, instill values in them, pass family values to them and spend her time as well as she can for her sake!

 

Representation of elderly in the media

No answer.

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