12th Annual Ellen M. Gee Memorial Lecture

EGML2014 - "The Changing Profile of Aging Families in Canada: Why Demographic Shifts in Immigration and Ethnic Diversity Matter"
Presented 21 November 2014 by
Dr. Karen Kobayashi, Associate Professor and Graduate Chair, Department of Sociology and Centre on Aging, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC



Paying tribute to Ellen’s innovative research on aging, health, ethnicity, and the family, this presentation will explore the changing profile of aging families in Canada and its implications for social and health care policy and practice in the second decade of the new millennium. With a focus on the increasing ethno-cultural diversity of the older adult population, we will address issues related to immigration, generation, gender, class, and power, as they have emerged in the context of recent research discussions on social support and family relations in later life. Insights into the impact and meaning of such demographic shifts on contemporary family life will be presented using examples from Ellen’s former students’ and colleagues’ continuing work in this area.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Kobayashi is Principal Investigator, ACaDeMe Research Project, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR); Chair, Social Dimensions of Aging Committee, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR); and Chair, Ethnicity and Aging Team, National Initiative on Care for the Elderly (NICE)

Dr. Kobayashi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and a Research Affiliate with the Centre on Aging at the University of Victoria. She is a social gerontologist who uses a life course perspective to explore the intersections of structural, cultural, and individual factors/experiences affecting health and aging in the Canadian population. She believes that in order to develop a better understanding of the nexus between micro- and macro-levels of analysis in sociological theory, a mixed-method approach to research is needed. Her scholarly interests lie broadly in the areas of family and intergenerational relationships, ethnicity and immigration, dementia and personhood, and health and social care. The vast majority of her research to date has been developed and carried out collaboratively in interdisciplinary teams, spanning disciplines in the social sciences (i.e., sociology, geography, anthropology), human and social development (i.e., nursing, health information science), and medicine (i.e., neurology, geriatrics, geriatric psychiatry), and across a number of academic institutions (i.e., UBC, SFU, UToronto) and departments within the BC Ministry of Health (i.e., Pharmacare, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Healthy Living and Sport (former)). She has been nominated to and held positions in the Canadian Sociological Association and Canadian Association on Gerontology, and is currently leader of the Ethnicity and Aging theme team for the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE). In addition to her participation in organizations at the national level, Karen is currently the Chair of CIHR's Social Dimensions of Aging Peer Review committee, and has been a grant and fellowship reviewer for SSHRC and the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Provincially, she is a member of the MSFHR’s Research Trainee Fellowship Committee in Population Health, and locally is part of the CLSA’s local organizing committee. At the university, she has trained a number of graduate students – Masters and PhDs – with research interests in aging and health since her appointment at UVic in 2003. With recent funding from CIHR, SSHRC, TVN, the BC Ministry of Health, and the MSFHR, her current research program examines the social, economic, cultural, and health dimensions of an aging population with particular foci on: (1) the relationship between social isolation and health among older adults; (2) the “healthy immigrant effect” in later life; (3) evaluating shared site intergenerational programs in the context of social, health, and educational outcomes for older adults and elementary students; (4) older ethno-cultural minority immigrant women's health and well-being; (5) new and emerging family formations, i.e., stepfamilies and Living-Apart-Together (LATs), and the implications of changing family relationships for social support in later life; (6) caregiver appraisals of the efficacy of cholinesterase inhibitors; (7) evaluating the Residential Program Care Delivery Model in the Fraser Health Authority; and (8) communication technologies for engaging patients, families and caregivers in the health care system.