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A "Good Fit": Professionally Aging in Small Kansas Towns

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In this chapter, Rick Scheidt shares episodes and eras marking his professional lifetime in the ecology of aging. In particular, he reflects on his experiences with two ground-breaking field studies of small-town rural elders. The first, a study of nearly 1,000 rural elders across 18 small Kansas towns, was the first major survey to assess community-level environmental influences on the mental health of older rural residents. Perhaps most significant, contrary to bucolic rural stereotypes, distinct perceptual views of local environments were linked to diverse patterns psychological well-being among these individuals. The second—the "ghost town study"—used a transactional model to capture multilevel environmental gains and losses experienced by elders aging-in-place in declining and dying towns. This includes a 30-year case study of the dynamics of placedeconstruction and place-making within a single endangered rural village. The author shares his appreciation of several positive contributors to Environmental Gerontology, including M. Powell Lawton, Victor Regnier, Paul Windley, Carolyn Norris-Baker, Roger Barker, Rudolf Moos, and Benyamin Schwarz.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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