Gerontologists in the Artic


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Posted on 14 May 2013

Dr Mo Ray and Professor Miriam Bernard from Keele's Centre for Social Gerontology were invited participants at a four day international research meeting on 'Families in Later Life' funded by the University of Lapland. The meeting, organised by Marjaana Seppänen, Professor of Gerontological Social Work in the Faculty of Social Sciences, was held in Rovaniemi and Keropirtti in Northern Finland.

Invited participants came from the University of Lapland, Keele University, Brunel University, the National University of Ireland, Galway and the University of Alberta.

The meeting builds on the Erasmus teaching exchange established between Dr Ray and Professor Seppänen in 2010 and its purpose was to begin to develop a joint programme of research and writing. Participants mapped out two initial projects: one scoping the recent literature on obligations to care, and the other based on data from the Finnish GOAL study (Good Ageing in Lahti Region).

The scoping review is being led by Dr Ray and will chart the extent and diversity of obligations of family members and friends to provide care to older adults. The analyses of the GOAL study (a longitudinal study on ageing and well-being which has been running since 2002) will be led by Professor Seppänen and will focus on the structure, function and perceived quality of family life of study participants.

This will in turn be set within Finland's unique historical context of war and family separation, and the post-war development of its welfare state. Future meetings and exchanges are planned for 2014 and these projects will become part of a larger initiative on families and ageing under the Global Social Initiative on Ageing (GSIA) – a core activity of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics 

Photograph of members of the research workshop (from left to right): Miriam Bernard, Shahnaj Begum, Hanna Bradter, Eeva Rossi, Mary Pat Sullivan, Thomas Scharf, Marjaana Seppänen, Mo Ray, Norah Keating, Arja Kilpeläinen.


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