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Rural Ageing Observatory

The Rural Ageing Observatory was formally established in 2010. The work of the Observatory is led by Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of ICSG, and supported by Professor Eamon O’Shea, ICSG.

The Observatory has the following vision:

To contribute scientific and practical awareness and understanding of the complex and interactive economic, social and health behaviours of rural older people in real-life contexts and to promote a social justice agenda for rural transformation that acknowledges the capabilities and diversity of rural people and rural environments

Strategic Goals of Rural Ageing Observatory

  1. To provide knowledge, information and analysis on rural ageing that leads to improved quality of life for rural dwellers;
  2. To consult older people directly and their stakeholder organisations on relevant issues through participatory research methodologies;
  3. To establish new values for transformative social ageing in rural communities;
  4. To establish the key characteristics of inclusion and exclusion experienced by older people in rural areas;
  5. To determine the influence of life-course factors and/or the impact of age on advantage and disadvantage in later life;
  6. To identify the nature, form and structure of capabilities and resilience within rural older people;
  7. To influence local and national government on policy matters in relation to rural ageing.

Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway, launches new report series

This week the Rural Ageing Observatory at NUI Galway's Irish Centre for Social Gerontology launched the first two reports in a series that, in time, will provide vital information about the ageing population in rural Ireland. The first of the short reports focuses on key demographic trends and issues facing rural older people. The second report summarises evidence relating to income, poverty and deprivation of Ireland’s older rural population.

For more information on these reports click below

Report on Rural Ageing in Ireland: Key Trends and Issues

Report on Older People in Rural Ireland: Income, Poverty and Deprivation

Why is Rural Ageing Important?

On behalf of the International Network on Rural Ageing

Rural ageing encompasses a complex set of dynamics that emerge from the characteristics and processes of rural settings and the social, economic and health experiences of older people. It is often the intersection between these characteristics and experiences that can shape an older person’s quality of life, level of inclusion and happiness. However, rural ageing has not received sufficient attention within the research literature. While research on older people in rural areas has been a feature of gerontological interest for many years, rural ageing has not yet established itself as a coherent and meaningful field in gerontology. This begs the question whether or not rural ageing is important at all? And indeed, in an increasingly urbanised society, whether the more intriguing rural ageing questions remain relevant? For at least two reasons, the answer to both questions is ‘yes’. Read More

Briefing Paper 3

The Rural Ageing Observatory Briefing Paper on Social Exclusion and Rural Ageing, is available here.

This short paper draws on existing Irish research, and new analysis of TILDA (The Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing) data, to identify priority policy areas for tackling the exclusion of rural older people. It also provides valuable insight into why rural older people may be particularly vulnerable to exclusion during this time of economic austerity.

Briefing Paper 4

The Rural Ageing Observatory Briefing Paper on Gender and Rural Issues is available here.

This paper draws on newly-available data to provide a gender profile of older Irish people in rural areas and discusses some of the important issues associated with gender and rural ageing, including living arrangements, income, employment, farming, transport and   informal care. It outlines a number of the challenges associated with ageing in rural Ireland for men and women and also describes some of their contributions to their communities, including volunteering and employment. It highlights the fact that, although older men and women face many similar challenges and rewards, the experience of ageing in rural Ireland has important variations by gender, due to their often different life-course trajectories