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Should they stay or should they go? Comparing professional and public understandings of ageing in place in the suburbs of Edmonton, Canada.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Speaker: Professor Theresa Garvin,

Professor, Human Geography & Planning,

University of Alberta,  Edmonton, Canada.

Venue: SAC room - CA110, Cairnes Building

Time: 11am

ALL Welcome

Refreshments available afterwards

Abstract:

The work reported here presents research results from an ongoing study comparing and contrasting seniors’ and policymaker/practitioner perspectives of suburban life in Edmonton, Alberta. Across North America older adults are becoming a larger proportion of the population. As the first of the Baby Boom generation turned 65 in 2010 there has been increased interest not only in how the increasingly aged will be cared for, but also where they will live. In Edmonton, Canada there are a growing number of older adults choosing to move to distant, low-density suburbs with a plan to age in place in these environments. However policymakers and planners are concerned that that these seniors may, effect, be ageing in the wrong place. The purpose of the research presented here was to compare and contrast the perspectives of policymakers and planners with those of seniors themselves to better understand how to accommodate future ageing in the suburbs. One component of the study used photo-elicited, community-based measures to examine seniors’ sense of place in suburbs. A second used focus group to identify the needs and concerns of policymakers and service providers. Together this data identifies a considerable distance between how and why seniors choose to stay in or move to suburban neighbourhoods, as compared to what policymakers and service providers seem to think is best for ageing in place. The work concludes that the ageing of the suburbs will present a unique set of challenges requiring a coordinated response from intersectoral and interdisciplinary perspectives in order to support healthy suburban ageing in place.