• Transitions & the Life Course
  • Aging and Inequality
  • Risk, Frailty and Late Life
  • Health, Mental Health, Disability & Decline
  • Theoretical Approaches in Critical Gerontology
  • Narrative Approaches & Qualitative Methodology
Amanda Grenier research

Recent Projects

  • Precarity and aging: Unequal experiences in contemporary late life

    Grenier, A. (PI), Rudman, D., Kobayashi, K., Marier, P., Phillipson, C. (2016-2020). Precarity and aging: unequal experiences in contemporary late life. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) - Insight Grant. $231,520.

    The aging of societies is globally recognized, with governments focused on planning for the needs of ‘greying’ populations. Yet, while there is growing evidence of inequality in late life, and attention to the impacts of precarity caused by labour and migration in earlier periods of the life course, research has often overlooked precarity in late life. Our research team will explore ‘precarious aging’ at three locations of inequality: older people with low income, older people who are foreign born, and older people with disabilities. This five-year project will use mixed methods that include conceptual reviews, semi-structured interviews with key informants and older people, analysis of statistical and administrative data, and policy analysis to:

    1) Understand contemporary experiences of precarity and aging;

    2) Examine the adequacy of existing conceptual frameworks and approaches;

    3) Assess policy features to determine challenges, and identify key areas for change.

    The results of this project will contribute to better a understanding of precarity and inequality in later life, and establish a foundation upon which to base policy and practice recommendations. Results will also make substantial contributions to knowledge in social gerontology, and our respective disciplines of social work, occupational therapy, sociology and political science.

  • Reducing senior's social isolation: Linking community in a participatory research initiative

    Grenier, A. (PI), and Dunn, J. (2016-2019). Reducing senior’s social isolation: linking community in a participatory research initiative. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), Pan-Canadian Projects: New Horizons for Seniors Funding Program. $267,338.

    Led by the Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging (Amanda Grenier – PI) and supported by the McMaster Institute for Healthier Environments (James Dunn – Co-I) our project will link community partners and stakeholders – including older people—in a participatory research initiative aimed to reduce social isolation among seniors. Our project is a research initiative to bring community together in order to collectively understand and address social isolation through participatory research. The project will build community capacity with regards to senior’s social isolation; work in collaboration to identify the unique nature of social isolation in Hamilton; provide teams with the best available knowledge and research to help combat social isolation of at risk seniors; and facilitate knowledge exchange across sites and projects. Our strong relationships with partners, community, students, and seniors will allow us to discuss emerging data trends as they are identified. We will involve seniors, stakeholders, researchers (including students), and partners in all processes, and in doing so facilitate the multi-directional flow of knowledge across audiences.

  • Homelessness in late life: Growing old on the streets, in shelters and long-term care

    Grenier, A. (PI), Lavoie, J. P., Sussman, T., Rothwell, D., Bourgeois-Guerin, V. (April 2012-May 2016). Homelessness in late life: growing old on the streets, in shelters and long-term care. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) - Insights Grant. $169,060.

    This project explores the growing issue of homelessness amongst older people. Recent strategies have overlooked the issue of older homelessness, subsequently leaving the needs of older homeless people unattended in both housing policy and age-related social programs. Our research provides insight into the intersections between aging and homelessness, uncovering the complex challenges it poses to policy-makers and service providers in the fields of housing, social planning and long-term care. Guided by a critical perspective, homelessness is investigated at the levels of social programming and individual experience: late life challenges; changing relationships to place and space in cities and shelters; implications of impairment with regards to long-term care; and the influence of economic resources in late-life trajectories. This research is being carried out in consultation with three organizations in Montreal, and is intended to contribute to the existing body of knowledge in social gerontology and social work and lead to the development of specialized policies and programs for Canada’s older homeless population.

    ** Project was completed in 2016**

  • Late life transitions: Understanding the “fit” between policy and personal experience.

    Grenier, A. (PI), Leonard, P., Biggs, S., Manthorpe, J. (2005-2008). Late life transitions: understanding the “fit” between policy and personal experience. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) - Standard Research Grant. $121,613.

    The proposed research program aims to understand the public discourses and personal narratives that are used to make sense and plan for late life transitions. Combining document analysis with in-depth qualitative interviews, the research will explore conceptions of transitions at two levels: that of social programming and personal experience. The first phase of the research will identify and document the way transitions are understood within relevant international, European, national and local policy documents. This material will be supplemented by interviews with policy makers at the federal, regional and local levels (N=15). The second phase – informed by narrative and grounded theory– involves conducting a “three-series structure” of 90 minute qualitative interviews with a total of 75 participants. Participants will be selected from the three existing age groupings considered to mark the expectations of aging (i.e., 50+ prevention, 65+ maintenance and 75+ decline) as well as variations within four social locations (i.e., gender, disability, visible ethnic minority status and socio-economic status). The third phase will focus on the ‘fit’ between the two—examining the relevance of current age-based transitions, experiences across the life course and social location. The aim of the research is to provide new insight into the relation between policies and the experience of later life, so that policies may shape relevant social responses to the issue of transitions in later life.

Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging

The Gilbrea Centre is an interdisciplinary research hub that is dedicated to address social issues of aging through collaborative and policy relevant research.

Located in the Faculty of Social Sciences at McMaster University, the Centre produces and communicates socially-relevant knowledge which helps to broaden understandings of aging, identify existing challenges, and suggests directions for change.

The Centre’s work on aging extends beyond McMaster’s campus through partnerships with community partners, student groups, collaboration with National and International research teams, and partners in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging

International Network for Critical Gerontology


The International Network for Critical Gerontology brings together international and interdisciplinary scholars and graduate students interested in critical approaches to the study of aging and late life. Run by Dr. Grenier at McMaster University in Canada, this virtual network links scholars from the humanities and social sciences. It provides a forum to consider contemporary issues in social/cultural gerontology, reflect on theoretical and conceptual questions in the field, and discuss new insights and developments.