"Presentation SFU ca"
Good places to grow old? Reflections on age-friendly rural communities Norah Keating University of Alberta Ellen Gee Memorial Lecture November 2007 Vancouver The question How might rural communities contribute to helping older adults flourish? Are rural communities good places to grow old? Approaches Analysis of rural community profiles of the Census National telephone survey of older adults in rural Canada Case study of 3 rural communities in Canada high proportion of older adults (over 22%) small population (1000-3000 people) Being engaged in rural communities Interviews with key community members: older adults, family members, service providers, & volunteers Photographs of older adults, community settings, & activities Community consultations Findings Seniors differ considerably in resources, preferences, & community engagement: Community active seniors Stoic seniors Marginalized seniors Frail seniors Community active seniors “The movers and the shakers. They get the stuff done in this community”. …are actively engaged in their communities in a wide range of formal & informal activities. …have resources that allow them to be active--energy, money, time, skills. …get a sense of satisfaction from contributing to their community. Community active seniors …believe it is important to be engaged “…keeping busy and being involved whether it’s the church or seniors or friends or whatever.” “They’re just entering the retirement zone and are looking for ways to contribute, still be active, and [have something] meaningful in their lives.” “If you want to live in a certain type of community, you have to make a contribution to making it that kind of community.” “I’ll be there one day, who knows!” Community active seniors …are active “…involved in everything. There is that group of people that canvas for arthritis and kidney, and they’re the same people who belong to the [service] club and the [church women’s] club and are visiting seniors and drive people to their appointments.” “Yesterday morning I went over to [nursing home] in the morning. From there I went directly over to the seniors centre... Tomorrow I have to make a cake for the church to take to the funeral tomorrow afternoon.” “Some of these women put in more hours volunteering than I do working.” Community active seniors …have resources “We’ve had a huge influx in this community of financially comfortable retirees…they’re not so concerned about making extra money so they are willing to support our organization and other organizations with their time.” “I think that’s why we got involved, because we do have the time and we can help out.” “They suddenly have find all kinds of outlets for their talents and their qualifications.” Stoic seniors “They want to continue living on the farm until they can no longer manage because it’s home, there’s privacy and we’re used to it.” …are best identified by their reserved, hard- working nature and preference for purposeful, meaningful activities. They have limited community involvement, preferring solitary over social activities. Stoic seniors …are practical and purposeful “I do not water my grass. I do not do landscaping. I plant berries in the garden.” “I still have some cattle and I still do my share of the field work.” “I’m very helpful for Sadie. I help her. And my other ones, if they need any help, I’m there.” “Tomorrow there’s a supper with ham and beans and potato scallop and pies and cakes galore of course. So I’ll be going to work at that.” Stoic seniors …are not joiners “She does care, she does have a lot of community pride, and she’s interested in everything that goes on, but she just chooses not to be out in front of everyone.” “I do not belong to the Legion. I do not belong to the senior centre association, and I don’t want to.” “They have a good, good active seniors’ rec centre. So a lot of people enjoy that. But I’d rather read my old magazines here at home.” Stoic seniors …are very private “I’m a solitary person. I don’t run around asking other people.” “Stoic ones are the ones you can check in with, have a 10 minutes conversation and be on your way because if there’s anything up-well, they’re stoic and they’re not going to tell you anyway.” “It’s too hard to make friends.” “She is very independent and said that she rarely calls on others for help, although she has lots of people around her who could help her out if she needed it. She calls the mayor to ask him questions.” Stoic seniors …’make do’ “It’s affordable for me…I own my house. What I need is here at present.” “We are able to provide for ourselves, look after ourselves.” “The couple said they are self sufficient and haven’t had any need to call on help from anybody.” “They still consider themselves self- reliant, and she’s quite proud of that I think.” Marginalized seniors “Nothin’ else going for me. I got no kids, never was married. That’s probably why nobody ever comes around and visit.” …might best be defined as isolated or excluded because of their tenuous social, economic, and/or health status. They are among the least visible seniors, difficult to access as research participants, and whose needs often are not seen by others. Marginalized seniors …are invisible “I don’t belong to anything here.” “No one really knows they’re there in a lot of cases.” “They might not realize that they’re vulnerable…other older people in the community would know that Mrs. So-and-so existed, but they may not realize what is happening inside that household.” “They may quite comfortably have sought out isolation and then as they become senior that becomes problematic.” Marginalized seniors …are economically vulnerable “So far I’ve been able to handle it financially. But like, I’m not going to get the car undercoated this year cause I can’t afford the $100.” “…we find we don’t do too much shopping here because we find the stores are too expensive here for groceries.” “I just have my bare income to rely on and have a mortgage. It’s hard. It’s hard.” “There are lots of recreation opportunities for seniors here if you can afford to go.” Marginalized seniors …have health concerns “You know, I’ve had to struggle. It’s been a struggle trying to live here. It’s a struggle for anybody that has poor health.” “If he [spouse] dies, I will too because I have a serious heart condition.” “The only time they come to the attention of anybody is when they end up in the hospital.” Frail seniors “ I’m just on borrowed time.” …may best be described as experiencing significant health concerns that affect their daily living and their patterns of engagement. Their health concerns range from limited mobility to breathing difficulties and heart problems. They often report multiple concerns. Frail seniors …have health problems that require assistance “I get short of breath if I do any fast walking. I get short of breath when I’m talking which is a horrible disadvantage for me because that means I’m short of breath damn near all the time.” “The only problem is getting your mail if you don’t walk very good…I have to walk with a walker, outside and I can’t walk downtown. Maybe when summer comes I might try.” “[Government agency] paid for the hearing aids…the yard maintenance…my walker and about $1100 a year for yard maintenance and snow shoveling.” Frail seniors …differ in their preferences for community engagement “If you didn’t do these things, you would die. That’s when you feel all your aches and pains, when you’re sitting there and you start feeling sorry for yourself…you gotta get out, you gotta get involved or forget it.” “I quilt alone and I don’t mind. I love it.” “I’ve seen, for instance, maybe how one group of [nursing home] residents we’ll get do absolutely nothing…They were just content in their room. But then we’ve had another group that just loved to [go to] bingo and they love their games.” Frail seniors …differ in their economic resources “I get the old age pension.” “All they have is the [basic universal pension].” “I was pretty lucky. I sold 3 or 4 lots off the lake and I put it away. You were getting a good interest there at one time.” “I am in a better position because I still have a few investments that are paying and a dollar or two in the bank.” Good places to grow old? Communities are differentially supportive to different groups of seniors. Communities are good places to grow old when there is a positive relationship between peoples’ needs & resources & community assets. Community Active Seniors ‘Best fit’ with community occurs when: Communities are friendly and welcoming. There are opportunities to be socially active & keep busy. Service centres are within reasonable driving distance. There are opportunities to volunteer, be recognized and appreciated, build community capacity. There is a large pool of volunteers. Stoic Seniors ‘Best fit’ with community occurs when: The community allows them to continue to be productive. There are proximate family, friends, good neighbours. They are close to adequate basic, local services. There are employment opportunities for their adult children. Marginalized Seniors: ‘Best fit’ with community occurs when: Community has stable population, homogeneous economic status, affordable housing, & employment opportunities for family nearby. Proximate family/close friends who can monitor without intruding. Reasonable driving distance to affordable goods/services. Frail Seniors ‘Best fit’ with community occurs when: There are family members, friends, & community members nearby to provide & manage care. There are local health & social services to support family friend carers. There are family, friends, & community members nearby to provide & manage care. The community is physically accessible. Supportive rural communities Older rural adults differ in their personal resources and in community resources that best support them. Age-friendly communities are about the ‘fit’. Contact Research on Aging, Policies, & Practice Room 3-02 Human Ecology Bldg. University of Alberta Edmonton AB CANADA T6G 2N1 http://www.hecol.ualberta.ca/rapp email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Rural ageing A good place to grow old? Edited by Norah Keating PB £24.99 ISBN 978 1 86134 901 9 HB £65.00 ISBN 978 1 86134 902 6 224 pages tbc May 2008 Available from www.policypress.org.uk