Varying discourses regarding ‘aging well’ have been criticized – rightly – with respect to who has the capacity to engage in the premises therein, and for attaching moral and prescriptive values to busy and active lifestyles.
Dr. Meridith Griffin is an assistant professor at McMaster University who teaches in the Department of Health, Aging & Society as well as the Social Psychology program. Dr. Griffin has a background in Kinesiology, but her interests extend beyond physical fitness to more general questions around how people decide to do something new later in life. She studies the rich relationships among disability, accessibility, and social engagement via leisure and recreation. She does innovative work with narratives documenting the stories people tell about themselves, and looking at the ways people can “destabilize” self-perceptions, even after a long lifetime of conditioning. Using interviews, observation and ethnography, Meridith tries to get at the unseen inhibitors that hold people back from embracing something new – everything from fear of competition, to unease about defying society’s expectations. Dr.Griffin is driven not just by a desire to understand the limitations of the stories people tell, but also to create and disseminate more stories, and to create more capacity for people to get involved.