Rural aging research: insights from the frontiers of gerontology

Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Missed our March seminar series talk by Professor Mark Skinner? You can now watch it on our YouTube Channel!

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 examined how rural insights can inform many of today’s most important gerontological questions. The emergence of critical rural gerontology as a field of scholarship was highlighted, and implications for research, policy and practice were discussed. 

Watch the video

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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). 

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Immediately following the seminar, the Gilbrea Centre held a launch of the new book "Geographical Gerontology: Perspectives, Concepts, Approaches" by authors Mark W. Skinner, Gavin J. Andrews and Malcolm P. Cutchin. This book focuses on the interdisciplinary field of study – geographical gerontology – that addresses these issues. With contributions from more than 30 leading geographers and gerontologists, the book examines the scope and depth of geographical perspectives, concepts and approaches applied to the study of ageing, old age and older populations. All three authors were present to discuss the book and answer questions.

Watch the video