The older population in Australia (65+) is expected to double in coming decades, creating many multi-faceted implications for Australian society. The sociology of ageing suggests that older people experience their social world in a distinct way that is uniquely shaped by their memories, historical life events and group membership. Moreover, it is deeply influenced by where they choose to live as they grow older. This paper summarises research currently being undertaken at the University of South Australia within the school of Natural and Built Environments. The central objective of this research is to identify the various roadblocks to achieving social wellbeing for older Australians with diverse demographic characteristics in a variety of urban and rural living environments. The services available in different localities vary, as do the local community networks, and the collective attitudes and life experiences of older people in the community. This paper begins by presenting a summary of current ageing trends and offers a review of published gerontology research. The paper considers the social construction of age, and the role that social capital; social isolation and loneliness play in shaping the dynamic social experiences and well being of older people in rural settings.
Theresa Petray and Anne Stephens (eds) Proceedings of The Australian Sociological Association Conference, Cairns, 23-26 November 2015.