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Rural ageing

Rural ageing: A good place to grow old?

Edited by Norah Keating
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  • Book Info
    Rural ageing
    Book Description:

    This important book addresses a growing international interest in 'age-friendly' communities. It examines the conflicting stereotypes of rural communities as either idyllic and supportive or isolated and bereft of services. Providing detailed information on the characteristics of rural communities, contributors ask the question, 'good places for whom'? The book extends our understanding of the intersections of rural people and places across the adult lifecourse. Taking a critical human ecology perspective, authors trace lifecourse changes in community and voluntary engagement and in the availability of social support. They illustrate diversity among older adults in social inclusion and in the types of services that are essential to their well being. For the first time, detailed information is provided on characteristics of rural communities that make them supportive to different groups of older adults. Comparisons between the UK and North America highlight similarities in how landscapes create rural identities, and fundamental differences in how climate, distance and rural culture shape the everyday lives of older adults. Rural ageing is a valuable resource for students, academics and practitioners interested in communities, rural settings and ageing and the lifecourse. Rich in national profiles and grounded in the narratives of older adults, it provides theoretical, empirical and practical examples of growing old in rural communities never before presented.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-403-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
    (pp. iv-v)
    Alexandre Kalache

    Population ageing is a major force shaping the 21st century. The number of people aged 60 years and over as a proportion of the global population will double from 11% in 2006 to 22% by 2050. By then, there will be more older people than children for the first time in human history. While Europe, North America and Oceania are the oldest regions of the world – and will remain so in upcoming decades – developing countries are ageing faster within a context of scarcer resources. Population ageing marks the culmination of successful human development during the last century and presents major...

  2. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vi-vii)
    Norah Keating
  3. ONE A critical human ecology perspective on rural ageing
    (pp. 1-10)
    Norah Keating and Judith Phillips

    The purpose of this chapter is to establish and describe the critical human ecology lens that challenges assumptions about growing older in rural areas. This lens is an essential element of the book in which we consider the interactions of older adults with the rural contexts that shape their experiences. Rural communities incorporate many elements of diversity that influence the lives of older adults: climate, landscape, distance from family networks, availability and access to services, migration patterns, community economic viability, age, gender roles and relationships. In this chapter we establish the structure and overall approach to the book, presenting the...

  4. TWO Crossing borders: lifecourse, rural ageing and disability
    (pp. 11-20)
    Tamara Daly and Gordon Grant

    This chapter introduces lifecourse perspectives that contribute to our understandings of ageing and disability in rural places; highlights what key assumptions about ageing, disability and rural places might fruitfully inform current thinking about the lifecourse; and raises questions for further research. As is evident from the preceding chapter, rural communities are defined in terms of locality and social representation, implying considerable heterogeneity in understanding of community types. When considering experiences of ageing and disability we therefore need to bear in mind how rural communities intersect in their diversity.

    Four key lifecourse constructs identified by Giele and elder (1998) are central...

  5. THREE Rurality and ageing well: ‘a long time here’
    (pp. 21-32)
    Sherry Ann Chapman and Sheila Peace

    Throughout our lives the places in which we live reflect aspects of self. And, we reflect those places. In this chapter, we focus on rural place as a human ecological context and consider the impact for older women of choosing to age in such rural landscapes, contrasting the rolling countryside of england with the apparently harsher landscape of the Canadian West. Building on Rowles’ (1983a, 1983b) concept of ‘attachment to place’ and working from a lifecourse perspective, we consider how the physicality of natural landscapes, in connection with social ideas about ‘rural’, may contribute to lifelong identities. We focus our...

  6. FOUR The evolution of networks of rural older adults
    (pp. 33-42)
    G. Clare Wenger and Norah Keating

    People in one’s life have been described as providing the ‘meat and potatoes of social existence’ (Garbarino, 1986, p 31). Supportive relationships are sources of love, intimacy and self-worth, providing tangible assistance and guidance (Lansford et al, 2005). Throughout life, good relationships are associated with better health, well-being and ability to cope with major life events. Lack of high-quality relationships is associated with negative physical and psychological consequences such as anxiety, depression, loneliness and poor health (Garung et al, 2003; Tyler, 2006).

    Support to older adults is particularly important because of their place in the lifecourse. Normative experiences of death...

  7. FIVE Distance, privacy and independence: rural homecare
    (pp. 43-52)
    Joanie Sims-Gould and Anne Martin-Matthews

    For many older people, ageing in place is enabled by a frequently complex system of support comprised of relatives, paid or formal caregivers, neighbours and friends (Sims-Gould and Martin-Matthews, 2007). The receipt of adequate and appropriate homecare1 is one component of the formal service sector that contributes to the likelihood of older rural residents remaining in their homes and communities.

    Homecare is an expanding sector of healthcare delivery in many countries around the world (Hall and Coyte, 2001; McClimont and Grove, 2004; Broese van Groenou et al, 2006). Overall population ageing, combined with a strong desire to ‘age in place’,...

  8. SIX Respite for rural and remote caregivers
    (pp. 53-62)
    Neena L. Chappell, Bonnie Schroeder and Michelle Gibbens

    The complexity of the concept ‘rural’ is well recognised, whether the focus is on size, the sociocultural or the sociopolitical. even size, arguably the easiest descriptor to deal with, eludes consensus; government definitions range from sizes of 300 to 300,000 (Woods, 2005). In addition, the traditional image of rural as a pastoral setting with conservative values, idyllic slower-paced lives, close-knit communities with flourishing family values and connection to land and locality has been replaced with an acknowledged heterogeneity among rural settings (Giarchi, 2006b). Many aspects of rural communities are now contentious. They vary in terms of distance from urban centres...

  9. SEVEN Ageing, disability and participation
    (pp. 63-74)
    Janet Fast and Jenny de Jong Gierveld

    Meaningful participation and social integration in society have been shown to contribute to ageing well. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal research have linked social participation to positive outcomes including quality of life (Silverstein and Parker, 2002), emotional well-being (Lee and Russell, 2003), functional independence (Unger et al, 1997) and lower morbidity and mortality rates (Menec, 2003). Importantly, social participation is seen to lead to social embededdness – the evaluation of one’s social situation as one of a satisfying interconnectedness and belonging. Some researchers have argued that involvement in social organisations via volunteer work, church attendance, participation in cultural, recreational and other associations,...

  10. EIGHT Participation in rural contexts: community matters
    (pp. 75-86)
    Julia Rozanova, Donna Dosman and Jenny de Jong Gierveld

    Extensive research has shown that social participation has positive associations with better health and well-being in later life. Individuals benefit when participation is meaningful to them (Chapman, 2005) and when personal relationships are formed or strengthened as a result of their engagement (de Jong Gierveld et al, 2006). Yet the ways in which older adults participate may make a difference in terms of whether participation has such positive outcomes. Participation that is freely chosen and is a good fit with one’s identity and sense of self may foster positive outcomes (Chapman, 2005). Participation that is not satisfying or is done...

  11. NINE Staying connected: issues of mobility of older rural adults
    (pp. 87-96)
    Bonnie Dobbs and Laurel Strain

    The increase in the number and proportion of older people, typically defined as 65 years of age and older, is one of the most profound changes affecting the industrialised, highly developed countries as well as less developed countries. In 2000, the estimated number of older people worldwide was 800 million, with a projected increase to 2 billion in 2050; 60% of those are estimated to live in rural areas (Eldar and Burger, 2000). When utilising the United Nations (UN, 2001) definition of rural as locales of fewer than 5,000 people, more than half the people in the world live in...

  12. TEN Ageing and social exclusion in rural communities
    (pp. 97-108)
    Thomas Scharf and Bernadette Bartlam

    In this chapter, we adopt the concept of social exclusion as a means to explore issues around disadvantage faced by older people in rural communities. The focus on social exclusion is important in casting light on the varied, and often hidden, nature of disadvantage experienced by older rural residents in many Western societies. Such disadvantage potentially challenges views about the degree to which rural communities represent good places in which to grow old. our approach is underpinned by a critical gerontology perspective. With its focus on the structural causes of inequalities in later life, its appreciation of the cumulative impacts...

  13. ELEVEN Age-friendly rural communities
    (pp. 109-120)
    Jacquie Eales, Janice Keefe and Norah Keating

    Much concern has been expressed about the demographic changes that are the hallmark of population ageing. Projections of rapidly increasing numbers of older adults have led to a great deal of discussion in policy and practice communities about the kinds of services and support that they might require. At times, the discussion has taken on the tone of ‘apocalyptic demography’ (Gee, 2000, p 5) with older adults seen as a drain on public programmes and service infrastructure. In this context, rural areas have been viewed with apprehension since their populations are ageing more quickly than those in cities (Wagner, 2006)....

  14. TWELVE Revisiting rural ageing
    (pp. 121-130)
    Norah Keating

    Throughout this book, authors have undertaken analyses of processes of ageing in rural contexts. A goal has been to deconstruct unidimensional although opposing constructs of rural places as ‘hinterlands bereft of opportunity and socially and culturally lagging or of idyllic pastoral settings’ (Chapter one, p 1). Rural settings explored in this book are diverse. older adults in South-east england and those in the vast prairies of western Canada live in places that differ considerably in size, distance from services and landscape. Such rural places represent both hinterlands and idyllic settings – and yet neither of these. Authors have addressed many such...