Is rural Ireland a good place in which to grow old?
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Connolly, S., Gavin, M., Maguire, C., McDonagh, J., Murray, M., O'Shea, E., et al. (2010). Is rural Ireland a good place in which to grow old? . First Trust Bank Economic Outlook and Business Review, 25(4), 39-42.
The theme of ageing in rural areas has gained increasing attention from policy makers and researchers in the last few decades in a situation where older people now often comprise a disproportionately larger share of those living in rural areas (see for example, Lowe and Speakman, 2006; Heenan, 2010.). This recognition is important because many stereotypes have evolved about rural ageing. Rural families, communities and places are often idealised, contributing to a tendency to romanticise age and ageing in rural settings. This is exacerbated by the difficulty of identifying social exclusion in rural environments simply because deprivation is not easily found in concentrated clusters of people, as is often the case in urban neighbourhoods. Sometimes older people in rural areas qualify their experience of poverty and isolation by drawing attention to the more positive aspects of rural life. The result is that rural older people are sometimes portrayed as being more resilient and self-sufficient and which may, in turn, be used to justify public policy inaction. This paper critically examines the notion of a rural idyll as it relates to the lived experiences of older people and presents some of the key findings that have emerged from a baseline research project conducted in 2010 across the island of Ireland.