Aging & Connecting in Neighbourhoods


This study explored the ways older adults connect and engage with others in their neighbourhoods. We focused on the relationships between person and place, and considered how places are ever-changing and intertwined with people. We were especially interested in how neighbourhoods can help older adults to be connected with others, be socially active, and avoid social isolation, as well as the barriers present. We asked the study participants about their daily activities, who they interact with, and what they like and dislike about their neighbourhoods. We also used some interesting combinations of research methods, to learn more about the best ways to study neighbourhoods.

The study drew on ethnographic and community-based participatory methods and was guided by a panel of older adults, city planners, senior’s programming providers, representatives of community organizations, and researchers. We recruited 14 older adults from two London, Ontario neighbourhoods and collected a few types of data. Each participant met with the research assistants to complete data collection, including:

  1. A narrative-style interview, where the participant told the story of themselves in their neighbourhoods, now and over time.
  2. A go-along interview, when participants walked with the Research Assistant to a local destination.
  3. Wearing a GPS tracking device and filling out an activity diary for 4 days.
  4. An interview based on the activity diaries and maps that displayed the GPS data.


Carri Hand
Debbie Laliberte Rudman
Suzanne Huot
Jason Gilliland
Community members and partners


Publications & Other Materials

Hand, C. (2019). Older women’s engagement in community occupations: Considerations of lifespan and place. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 1-10.

Hand, C., Laliberte Rudman D., Huot, S., Pack, R. & Gilliland, J. (2020). Enacting agency: Exploring how older adults shape their neighbourhoods. Ageing & Society, 40, 565-583.

Pack, R., Hand, C., Laliberte Rudman., D, & Huot S. (2019). Governing the ageing body: Explicating the negotiation of ‘positive’ ageing in daily life. Ageing & Society, 1-24.

Hand, C. L., Laliberte Rudman, D. L., Huot, S., Gilliland, J. A., & Pack, R. L. (2018). Toward understanding person–place transactions in neighborhoods: A qualitative-participatory geospatial approach. The Gerontologist, 58, 89–100. Special Issue: Aging in Context

Hand, C., Huot, S., Laliberte Rudman, D. & Wijekoon, S. (2017). Qualitative-geospatial methods of exploring person-place transactions in aging adults: A scoping review. The Gerontologist, 57(3), e47-e61, 1–15.