The Gilbrea Centre brings together researchers from many disciplines to pursue leading edge research in critically important areas of aging.  Research, scholarship and knowledge exchange are carried out in five thematic areas that respond to contemporary and future issues facing older people in Canada.

To learn more about program areas and themes click on each title in the graphic below.
Gilbrea Research Programs and Cross Cutting Themes Model

Research Projects and Networks

The Centre provides a wide range of support for member led research-related activities. These activities include, but are not limited to: financial management of awards, monitoring project timelines and deliverables, facilitating institutional transfer agreements, hiring project specific staff, assiting with knowledge mobilization events, and academic reporting to funders.

Please contact our Research Manager to learn more about how we can support you as a member of the Centre and your funded research activities (gilbrea@mcmaster.ca or 905-525-9140 ext. 24449).

Current Centre Projects

Precarity and aging: unequal experiences in contemporary late life

Amanda Grenier Director, Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging, Health, Aging and Society , Social Sciences

The aging of societies is globally recognized, with governments focused on planning for the needs of ‘greying’ populations. Yet, while there is growing evidence of inequality in late life, and attention to the impacts of precarity caused by labour and migration in earlier periods of the life course, research has often overlooked precarity in late life. Our research team will explore ‘precarious aging’ at three locations of inequality: older people with low income, older people who are foreign born, and older people with disabilities. This five-year project will use mixed methods that include conceptual reviews, semi-structured interviews with key informants and older people, analysis of statistical and administrative data, and policy analysis to: 1) Understand contemporary experiences of precarity and aging; 2) Examine the adequacy of existing conceptual frameworks and approaches to precarity and inequality; 3) Assess features of local, provincial, national, and international policies to determine challenges, and identify key areas for change in policy and programs. The results of this project will contribute to better conceptual understandings of precarity and inequality in later life, and establish a foundation upon which to base policy and practice recommendations. Results will also make substantial contributions to knowledge in social gerontology, and our respective disciplines of social work, occupational therapy, sociology and political science.

For more information, place contact Dr. Grenier at grenier@mcmaster.ca


International Network for Critical Gerontology

Amanda Grenier Director, Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging, Health, Aging and Society , Social Sciences

The International Network for Critical Gerontology brings together international scholars and graduate students interested in critical approaches to the study of aging and late life. Based at McMaster University in Canada, this virtual network links international scholars from various disciplinary perspectives in the humanities and social sciences. It provides a forum to consider contemporary issues in social/cultural gerontology, reflect on theoretical and conceptual questions in the field, and discuss new insights and developments.

img info@criticalgerontology.com 


Understanding and Enacting KMb in Large Teams and Across AGE-WELL: An Interactive Action-Oriented Project

Amanda Grenier Director, Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging, Health, Aging and Society , Social Sciences

Igor Gontcharov Post Doctoral Fellow, Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging, Social Sciences

Amanda Grenier, Karen Kobayashi (AGE-WELL KMOB co-leads) recently received funding for a 2-year research project to help understand knowledge mobilization in large interdisciplinary research teams. 
This interactive and participatory project aims to gain a better understanding of how interdisciplinary researchers understand KMb, how they envision and enact KMb within their disciplines and projects, and the actions and supports they deem necessary to successfully engage in KMb. This project also engages a full-time post doctoral student and AGE-WELL HQP (Igor Gontcharov).

Playing with memories: The elicitation of leisure biographies

Meridith Griffin Associate Director, Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging, Health, Aging and Society, Social Sciences

In partnership with the Hamilton Public Library, this project will explore both the process and the outcome of crafting and co-creating leisure biographies in a guided writing group for older adults. The goal is to provide insight into the role that leisure has played across the life course of participants. Involvement in leisure has been linked to well-being and social integration for those of all ages, and has been identified as being particularly important for older adults. Here, we conceptualize leisure widely, to encompass a range of activities, both active and passive, including: recreation, sport and physical activity, games, and social and volunteer activities. The project will also contribute to the development of a ‘reminiscence methodology,’ an innovative approach to data collection, analysis and dissemination that integrates methods from life writing and directed memory work as a means of guiding older adults through the process of co-creating a leisure biography. This approach will reveal knowledge about the meaning of leisure, by elucidating the types of memories that are associated with, and the stories that are told about, leisure by older adults. 

Reducing Senior’s Social Isolation: Linking Community in a Participatory Research Initiative

Amanda Grenier Director, Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging, Health, Aging and Society , Social Sciences

Led by the Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging (Amanda Grenier - PI) and supported by the McMaster Institute for Healthier Environments (James Dunn - Co-I) our project will link community partners and stakeholders – including older people—in a participatory research initiative aimed to reduce social isolation among seniors. Our project is a research initiative to bring community together in order to collectively understand and address social isolation through participatory research. As such, the research and policy project is woven across all aspects of the project in order to build capacity with regards to senior’s social isolation at the community level, work in collaboration to identify the unique nature of social isolation in Hamilton, provide teams with the best available knowledge and research about target audiences, risks, methods and interventions to help combat social isolation of at risk seniors, and guide and facilitate knowledge exchange across sites and projects. Our strong relationships with partners, community, students, and seniors will allow us to discuss emerging data trends as they are identified, and engage in exchanges to improve knowledge translation and dissemination. We will involve seniors, stakeholders, researchers (including students), and partners in all processes, and in doing so facilitate the multi-directional flow of knowledge across audiences.

Website: socialisolation.ca

img socialisolation@mcmaster.ca

Implications of Driving Cessation amongst Canada’s Elderly Living in Rural and Small Urban Communities.

Bruce Newbold Director, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, Science

For older adults, the personal automobile is the preferred travel mode choice. For those older adults in rural areas or small towns were transportation options are more limited, however, aging and driving cessation bring particular challenges. Understanding how the transportation needs and behaviours of Canada's aging population changes according to their specific needs, relative location, and stage in the life course as they age through retirement and approach and complete driving cessation is important. This project brings together leading experts in aging, health, and driving from the Faculties of Science, Social Science, Business, and Health Sciences to:

  1. Examine changing travel behaviours as cessation is approached and completed, with a focus on older adults in rural areas and small towns.
  2. Examine the health, social and economic implications of driving cessation as individuals approach and complete driving cessation in rural areas and small towns.

Meanings of (Im)mobilities: A 'New Mobilities' Perspective

Amanda Grenier Director, Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging, Health, Aging and Society , Social Sciences

Meridith Griffin Associate Director, Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging, Health, Aging and Society, Social Sciences

This project unites scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds in social sciences (i.e., social work, social gerontology, kinesiology, health geography), with colleagues from Science and Health Sciences to explore how mobility – and immobility—are conceptualized and understood. The project employs language that combines mobility and immobility as a means of questioning taken for granted assumptions of mobility as static or fixed. An embedded case study design will be used to explore the meanings of (im)mobilities at contrasting locations, employing observations and interviews  (narrative and walk along) to gain a deep appreciation of understandings and experiences. 

Past Research Projects

View past research projects