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Durham Greater Toronto Area

Students outside Durham building

Durham Greater Toronto Area

Dr. Mark Skinner Addresses the Challenges and Opportunities of Volunteerism in Aging Communities

Dr. Mark Skinner enlightened the crowd as he presented a public lecture on the "Challenges and Opportunities of Volunteerism in Aging Communities" at Trent University Durham GTA on Thursday, October 5. 

Faculty, staff, students and members of the community were engaged as Professor Skinner examined local communities and discussed the implications for the sustainability of volunteerism in an era of population aging. He commented on the paradox that people over 60 years of age provide the most significant number of volunteer hours as compared to younger volunteers, even though many see themselves as just steps away from needing these services themselves. It was noted that in the Durham Region the greatest number of seniors (over 20 thousand people aged 65 and older) reside in Oshawa. 

Prof. Skinner also discussed a number of silent issues in aging such as dementia, the aging LGBTQ community, and rural and remote aging. Elder abuse is another prevalent silent issue that will be tackled next January as Trent University Durham will offer a course in collaboration with Elder Abuse Ontario, called Foundations of Elder Abuse Education and Prevention. This is an introductory course that will enable students to understand the complexities of elder abuse and is based on Elder Abuse Ontario’s core curriculum. Drawing on the expertise of the Trent Centre for Aging & Society, the course will help those who intend to work with older adults to identify and respond to elder abuse. Its foundation is based on the Ontario and Canadian government’s laws and elder abuse prevention strategies and best practices.

Mark Skinner is a geography professor at Trent University, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Rural Aging, Health and Social Care, and is founding Director of the Trent Centre for Aging and Society.

For more information about the Trent Centre for Aging, visit

Posted on October 25, 2017