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MIRA Trainee Talks: Rachel Weldrick

Published: ​December 10, 2019 | By Sydney Valentino

Rachel Weldrick, a PhD candidate and Vanier Scholar, working with Dr. Jim Dunn in the Department of Health, Aging, & Society, delivered a research talk on:

“Alone in a crowd: Living alone, place, and risk of social isolation later in life”

Read below for a summary of Rachel’s research talk, given to the MIRA Trainee Network:

  • Social isolation is an ongoing concern for many older people living in Canadian communities, particularly those who live on their own. Significant gaps in the literature exist regarding the potential role of place (e.g. neighbourhood) in both protecting against isolation and exacerbating any existing risk
  • Older participants living alone in Hamilton described many ways in which aspects of place both protected them against isolation or worsened their isolation in some way
  • Almost all participants described a desire for more community-oriented neighbourhoods as well as more accessible infrastructure, highlighting the importance of both physical and non-physical aspects of place in preventing social isolation
  • Through a critical lens, it is clear that place can both create and sustain forms of exclusion (and inclusion). Future interventions and programs aimed at preventing isolation among older people should consider how neighbourhoods and local communities can be leveraged to foster social connection among people of all ages.
This ​blog post was first published by the MIRA Trainee Network. Read the original article.​​

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