Life Stories of 90+ Elders


In 2011, there were about 218,000 elders aged 90 years and over in Canada, or less than one percent of the Canadian population (Statistics Canada, 2013)

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Avez-vous 90 ans ou plus?

Connaissez-vous quelqu’un qui a 90 ans et plus?

Les personnes exceptionnellement âgées pourraient nous rendre un grand service en acceptant de partager avec nous leurs expériences de vie.


Are you 90 or older?

Do you know someone who is 90 or older?

Exceptionally elderly individuals can help us tremendously by agreeing to speak with us about their life-long experience.

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Many believe that soon, we will face serious issues regarding health and care of an aging population (Brink, 2004). In the Canadian population, baby-boomers represent the largest cohort (Statistics Canada, 2007a) and life expectancy has increased. Interestingly, it is usually never mentioned that seniors are expected to be healthier and retirement age has already increased. Moreover, many of the individuals who reach an exceptional old age (90+) are in relatively good health and live mostly autonomously (Andersen-Ranberg et al, 2001; Hitt et al., 1999; Perls, 1995; Walter-Ginzburga et al., 2005). As such, they demonstrate resilience and strength. We also know that keeping elders in their own homes for as long as possible is the most cost-effective strategy, when compared to institutionalised arrangements (Chappel et al., 2009), and the most humane.

This study aims to extend our understanding of elder elders' resilience during the aging phase of life. Using qualitative life history techniques, the stories of elder elders will be obtained and studied to gain insights into the successes and challenges of the aging process. Specifically, this project seeks to answers questions such as: What strategies have elder elders used and currently use to succeed in their lives? What is the role of gender in the "storying" of life among the 90+ year olds? What social institutional practices, policies, and ideologies hinder/facilitate elder elders' life worlds? What are the cultural determinants of living through the latter years with resilience? Is longevity intertwined with specific meaning making of life experiences?

Findings have the potential to inform 1) policy decisions regarding the commitment of community resources, adoption of services, and development of interventions to enhance the environment, wellbeing, resilience, and independence for our aging society; and 2) the development of a resilience model for marginalised groups in general and elders in particular.


We are currently looking for participants in this research study.

I would like to participate

Project Description

Andersen-Ranberg, Schroll, and Bernard (2001) suggest that the global population will face major life challenges in the near future. Examining the life history narratives …

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Gouliquer, L., Poulin, C., & Lesmana, M. (2014). What Do Pets Have to Do with It? Older Adults, Neoliberalism, and the Replaceable/Disposable Family. Atlantic Centre …

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  • Carmen Poulin, PhD
  • Lynne Gouliquer, PhD
  • Caroline De Freitas Silva
  • Ardith Finnamore

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