Establishing a National Centre of Gerontology
Resource type: Grantee Story
The development of expert social and rural gerontology in the Republic of Ireland is particularly urgent given the changes that are expected over the coming decades. There are major information deficits in relation to how people age. Older people’s experience of ageing in urban and rural contexts is often not known or understood by policy makers, which leads to inappropriate policy and practise. Unchallenged stereotypes are propagated by policy makers, caregivers, the media and others which, in turn, reinforces negative attitudes and ageism.
Purpose and Impact of the Grant
The Galway University Foundation is using an Atlantic grant to establish the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology – the first centre of its kind in the country. The proposed centre will be located in the west of Ireland at the National University of Ireland Galway, an institution with rich links to its rural hinterland and local communities. The new institution will serve as an academic centre studying the experiences of older people in rural and urban contexts in order to inform social policy in Ireland and link with international centres and institutes dedicated to social ageing research.
The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology will conduct research, provide analyses, disseminate information and conduct evaluations, thereby strengthening the capacity of the ageing field to advocate on behalf of older adults and deliver high-quality services. The areas to be studied include ageism, transport, urban and rural isolation, social supports, civic engagement, accessibility of services, housing, finances, taxation, employment and more. This research will help ensure that policy development and implementation are evidence-based and that ageist attitudes can be challenged effectively.