Exploring geographies of community care for older rural people during COVID-19 in Manitoba, Canada

Authors: Rachel Herron*, Brandon University, Doug Ramsey, Brandon University, Department of Rural Development, Breanna Lawrence, Brandon University, Department of Educational Psychology and Student Services, Nancy Newall, Brandon University, Department of Psychology, Candice Waddell, Brandon University, Department of Psychiatric Nursing
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Caregiving Geographies , Qualitative Research
Keywords: care, older adults, COVID-19
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 40
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The initial stages of COVID-19 shuttered informal spaces of care for older adults such as drop-in facilities, coffee shops, churches and volunteer organizations. In this presentation, we explore the impact of these closures on community-based organizations and older adults in rural Manitoba drawing on six key informant telephone interviews and 26 telephone interviews with community-dwelling older adults in rural Manitoba, Canada. Our findings reveal the uneven adaptability of both organizations and older adults during the pandemic. While some programs “came to a crashing halt,” others had greater resources to adapt to new restrictions. Similarly, participants in the study revealed different strategies for coping with a loss of activities and gatherings such as keeping busy, getting outside, and supporting others. The uneven adaptation of organizations and older adults draws attention to the critical role of public investment in community spaces and organizations that provide care and opportunities for older adults in rural places.

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