Aging & Society Seminar Series
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Aging & Society Seminar Series
Please join us on Monday, March 13 at Bata Library (BL 201) for the latest Aging & Society Seminar Series presentation.
Neil Halon, Professor, Geography, University of Northern British Columbia will join us for a talk titled, “Voluntarism, community development, and aging in BC’s northern interior: Prospects for place integration.”
This presentation will explore intersections of population aging, community development, and voluntarism as enacted in two resource-dependent communities in the interior of British Columbia. Voluntary-led efforts to make communities more age-friendly offer great potential for enhancing place integration, not only for older residents who stand to benefit directly from these community development efforts, but also for community leaders and residents more generally. At the same time, it is important to challenge dualist tendencies in thinking about voluntarism, community development, and place integration (e.g., that these should be regarded either as forces for neoliberal acquiescence or resistance, social cohesion or marginalization). The presentation will conclude with a discussion of ways to acknowledge the social dynamics, nuances, and contradictions of voluntary-led community development initiatives as an exciting new area of inquiry in the study of social and geographical gerontology.
Event details are found on the the poster. As usual, lunch will follow the talk so please RSVP to ensure we have enough food for everyone.
Trent Centre for Aging & Society welcomes Australian Researcher for Seminar Series
Dr. Pauline Marsh connects community gardens to end of life care
During Trent’s recent reading break, a large group of students, faculty, and community members, some representing hospice care and community gardening, turned out for a poignant talk by registered nurse and lecturer with the Centre for Rural Health, University of Tasmania, Australia, Dr. Pauline Marsh.
Professor Marsh was welcomed to the Trent campus to share her research project, “Walking Each Other Home: Weaving end-of-life supports into a community garden,” which explores how we might provide better support to individuals at the end of their lives or in bereavement.
Prof. Marsh’s study evolved organically in response to observing community members coming to the Okines Community Garden, located in Tasmania’s Southern Beaches area, when they were in crisis. Some visited at the end of their lives, some after a difficult health diagnosis, and some after losing loved ones. A research question grew out of this observation: are community gardens suitable places to support people in various states of mourning?
Prof. Marsh recalled, “Our project team included a local fibre artist, garden coordinator, grief counsellor and social researcher, all of whom worked collaboratively. Our research was designed to fit with the needs of the community garden. Nothing was artificially structured and imposed by the research team on the space and its users.”
Through various workshops and community events, the team noted that participants wanted to talk about death and dying while in the garden. It was viewed as a low key, safe, and non- confrontational space to do so. It also turned out that a majority of participants were grieving the loss of a partner and they needed to know people cared about their situation and cared about them.
Prof. Marsh’s research indicates a number of ways to strengthen and expand informal palliative supports and point to a therapeutic nexus between gardens, grief and dying.
Our First Visiting Scholars
Dr. Rachel Winterton, LaTrobe University, Australia came to Peterborough in April 2016 to spend a few weeks working with Dr. Mark Skinner. While here, Dr. Winterton delivered a well attended Aging & Seminar Series talk at Alumni House entitled “Exploring the Nexus between Rural Citizenship and Retirement Migration: Reflections from the Australian Context.” One result of Dr. Winterton’s talk was an invitation by seminar attendee, Mayor of Selwyn, Mary Smith, to take Dr. Winterton to a community meeting with older volunteers, which then snowballed into a canoe trip. By all accounts, a terrific side benefit to a very successful research trip to Canada.
From Ireland via Cleveland
Dr. Áine Ní Léime joined us for an Aging & Seminar Series talk to discuss her current work on 26 May 2016. The Irish social gerontologist, was invited to share her research on active aging and extended working life policies, specifically the gendered aspects of secure and precarious positions in the United States.
Professor Ní Léime’s cross-national research project, “Gender, Older Workers and the Lifecourse,” analyzes and compares the experiences of Irish and U.S. older workers. Women, according to Prof. Ni Léime’s findings, are particularly vulnerable to the deprivations of poverty thanks to part-time, and increasingly precarious employment. Government policy and an alarmist public discourse makes the situation for older workers in the United States even more difficult as services and pensions are reduced, the age of retirement raised, and generations are pitted against one another for increasingly scarce resources.
Prof. Ni Léime suggests this competitive view of society prevents us from seeking out more compassionate answers to the complex questions raised by aging on the job. By documenting workers’ own experiences, Prof. Ni Léime seeks to understand exactly how such policies affect ordinary people in their daily lives.
A Research Fellow at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Dr. Ní Léime is currently working at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland for the first two years of a prestigious three year Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship from the European Union Framework Programme 7.