Lieffers Photograph

“We’re just as honourable as anyone else”: Aging in Canada, 1850-Present

Caroline Lieffers

Award: 2021 Project Grant

Elder care in Canada has recently been described as a “crisis,” and the facilities where thousands of seniors live have been revealed to be sites of isolation and neglect. How did Canada get to this point? This project examines the history of Canada’s aged population from around the 1850s to the present. Three main questions guide this research: 1) How did elders understand and express their expectations and experiences of aging? 2) What philosophies, priorities, or attitudes did Canadian health practitioners and policy makers hold toward elders, and how did these change over time? 3) How did race, geography, family structure, diagnosis, and disability shape Canadians’ experiences and understandings of aging? Answering these questions will not only help develop new ways to think about the history of aging, health policy, and geriatric medicine and nursing, but also offer clarity to our present-day situation.