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Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging: Annual Seminar Series

Rural aging research: insights from the frontiers of gerontology

Rural regions, small towns and villages have the highest rates of population aging worldwide. Relatively little consideration, however, is given to what it means for rural residents, households, communities and institutions to be at the forefront of twenty-first century population change. Indeed, prevailing scholarship, public policy and media discourse continue to view rural as merely a residual (non-urban) setting for empirical research on, interventions for, or romantic idylls of aging. What is missing is a greater understanding of rural as a complicated, changing and contested space of aging – where older adults, caregivers and leaders experience and transform the processes and outcomes of population change. Drawing on examples of current rural aging research in Canada and internationally, this presentation examines how rural insights can inform many of today’s most important gerontological questions. The emergence of critical rural gerontology as a field of scholarship is highlighted, and implications for research, policy and practice are discussed.

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About the speaker:

Trent University professor Mark Skinner holds the Canada Research Chair in Rural Aging, Health and Social Care, and is founding director of the Trent Centre for Aging & Society. He is a health geographer appointed to the Trent School of the Environment and was recently inducted into the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Dr. Skinner’s research examines how rural people and places are responding to the challenges and opportunities of population aging, particularly the evolving role of the voluntary sector and volunteers in supporting older people and sustaining rural communities. His books include two new edited volumes by Routledge: “Ageing Resource Communities: New Frontiers of Rural Population Change, Community Development and Voluntarism” (2016) and “Geographical Gerontology: Perspectives, Concepts, Approaches” (2018).

This event is sponsored by the Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging and  the Trent Centre for Aging and Society.