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Finding Gerontology — Holly Lemme (MA Student)

October 03, 2019

Finding Gerontology is a series of stories highlighting the students that make up the Gerontology Program at SFU.

What brought you to SFU Gerontology?

I graduated from my undergrad in urban and regional planning in 2015, and began working in land use planning/real estate development for a seniors housing provider. I lead site selection and analysis for new housing projects; from highly independent seniors apartments through to retirement homes offering memory care for older adults experiencing cognitive decline and/or dementia. I quickly became fascinated with the experiences and the lives of older adults, particularly related to the built environment and different housing contexts. After reading several texts by M. Powell Lawton and colleagues, and beginning a certificate program in aging and gerontology, I knew this was a field I was dedicated to and wanted to pursue further. 

What are your research interests?

I am interested in understanding how aspects of the built environment and different forms of housing support (or hinder) a high quality of life for older adults. It has been well documented that older adults want to age in place - or stay in their familiar homes and neighbourhoods as long as possible. How can we ensure that the places people live are appropriate for the enjoyment of life, adequately meeting the physical, cognitive, and social needs of older adults who live there?

What are you looking forward to in your first year here?

Being immersed in a community of students, researchers, and faculty who are dedicated to the field of gerontology has been so refreshing! With a background in urban planning, I often get asked the question “How did you end up in gerontology?” - There is no need for that question (or answer) here. Finding a group of individuals with shared interests in this field is one of the greatest aspects of my first year in the masters program. 

What are you hoping to do when you complete your MA in Gerontology?

I’d like to contribute in whatever way possible to improving the quality of life of older adults. Continuing a career in the seniors housing sector is something I am looking forward to, with an enhanced appreciation and understanding of older adults’ diverse perspectives and experiences.