Nine: Towards connectivity in a Grey and Pleasant Land?

This chapter draws together the main findings and issues from this study of connectivity and older people in rural Britain. It begins by reviewing the main challenges of interdisciplinary research encountered during the project. It goes on to summarise not only the main dimensions of connectivity explored in detail in earlier chapters such as civic engagement, social participation and connecting to landscape but also key barriers such as poor health and digital exclusion. These findings are then conceptualised in terms of both social capital and critical human ecology theory. The chapter concludes by drawing out policy and practice implications with an emphasis upon the dangers of increasing inequality for lower income rural elders at a time of austerity with its consequent emphasis upon community self-help. However, the overall message of the book is that it is still important to celebrate rural elders the majority of whom are well connected to their locale and hence making an important and varied contribution to community life.

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