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The Community Life of Older People in Ireland

Carmel Gallagher

This book is a contemporary sociological account of the lives of older people in two different communities in Ireland, one urban and one rural. The book is based on primary research that examined the social and community participation of older people in Rathmore and Rathbeg using both ethnographic and survey approaches. The data presented provides insights into the nature of a community in a rapidly changing society and into older people’s contributions to that community. It points to realms of activity that offer genuine meaning and value in older people’s lives. A model of connectedness is developed in the study that identifies key characteristics and processes involved in sociability and solidarity within neighbourhoods and communities. A typology of ten relational patterns describes the different ways in which older adults may be connected within their communities. The author proposes an explanatory framework for understanding the complex and varied connections between people in communities. The book also demonstrates what older people in Ireland perceive as a good life.
Contents: Living in Rathmore and Rathbeg: An Introduction – Context of Ageing and Old Age in Ireland – Ageing and Social Policies in Ireland – Leisure and Social Activities – The Meaning of Place and Significant Communal Settings – Helping, Volunteering and Religious Practice – Relationships with Family, Friends and Neighbours – Explaining Connectedness in Rathmore and Rathbeg – Community and Friendship – Ageing and Community in Rathmore and Rathbeg: Summary and Conclusions.