Social History

Katherine Doherty is 76 years old and lives at home with her husband, Benjamin (79). They have been happily married for 55 years but were unable to conceive any children. They have one dog and three cats, who they regard as their family.  Mr Doherty is otherwise well but has advanced glaucoma and relies on Mrs Doherty for food shopping, meal preparation, paying bills and general home maintenance. His favourite part of the day is when Katherine and he sit down with and cup of tea in the afternoon while she reads to him. Their favourite books are crime thrillers and historical fiction, but they are also known to read the occasional romance story!

They moved to a two bedroom duplex three years ago when Mr Doherty’s eyesight had progressed to the point where it became difficult to maintain a large house and garden on their own.  They chose the location of their new home as it was a short walk to the local shopping centre and medical centre.  Following her stroke, Katherine no longer feels safe to drive and has given up her license.  The Doherty’s are feeling socially isolated since their move and are missing the familiarity of their old neighbourhood, where they had lived for 28 years. They are finding it difficult to get to know their neighbours and engage in the community.  They used to enjoy a game of croquet, bingo and fishing in the river. They would regularly meet neighbours in the street and stop to chat, inevitably ending up at someone’s house for a cup of tea, a glass of beer or a nip of port if it was cold.

Mrs Doherty’s parents both died at young ages, her father during the war and her mother of tuberculosis at the age of 39. She had one sister, who passed away at age 71 from bowel cancer. Her two nephews both live overseas.