Chrys Jaye is a medical anthropologist publishing across medical anthropology and sociology, primary health care, medical education, rural health and topics in ageing.
This presentation draws on a multi-method study in a small rural New Zealand town in the South Island and starts from the premise that rural communities should be good places in which to grow old. Rural communities have assets that make them desirable places to live. However, there are several forms of latent precarity (underlying vulnerabilities and insecurities) that can become experienced precarity for rural dwellers as they age. Making the most of a rural community’s assets requires a degree of ‘rural fitness.’ Declining capabilities can tip the balance for older adults who may feel they have no option but to relocate to urban hubs that can offer a greater range of health services and resources. Combining assets-based and capabilities frameworks with attention to precarity offers another lens for understanding the challenges facing rural inhabitants as they grow older.