Intersecting Dialogues in Health and Aging: Developing Digital Trust Networks in Regional Australia

By Lisa McDonald and Louise Adcock.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: February 10, 2017 $US5.00

Contemporary perspectives in critical gerontology articulate interest in the processes of power as they relate to, and are experienced in, older age. Such concerns include examining the gendered dimensions of ageing and the specific circumstances in which human beings age. This exploratory paper discusses emerging dialogues between gender and ageing arising from specific social challenges associated with regional Australia’s digital futures. The paper outlines the establishment of a collaborative research project between the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and The Older Men’s Network (TOMNET) Inc., designed to trial the digital delivery and facilitation of a localised peer support network for older men “at-risk-of-suicide.” Here, the paper intersects with TOMNET’s “trust philosophy,” an internal, if intangible, element of engendering both certainty and hope in the creation of existing peer support networks. How might “trust” be figured in the revision of TOMNET’s current digital portal for this potentially expansive venture to foster change in older men’s lives? The nuanced, yet tried, interactions this trust philosophy generates prompt the questions, “How can regional support networks be better informed and connected?” and “Can digital environments successfully facilitate peer support toward improved wellbeing?” In suggesting ways that peer support could be transformed, the paper critically explores contemporary civic relationships between universities and communities and concludes by anticipating both the complexity and innovation of an emerging digital “trust” network in regional Australia.

Keywords: Aging, Older Men, Suicide, Trust, Digital Networks

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.91-100. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: February 10, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 637.572KB)).

Dr. Lisa McDonald

Principal Consultant, Lisa McDonald & Associates, Adelaide, Australia

Louise Adcock

General Manager, The Older Men's Network, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia