SA 420/GERO 420 Sociology of Aging (distance)

For further assistance with your assignment, contact Moninder Lalli, Liaison Librarian for Sociology/Anthropology at, or Nina Smart, Liaison Librarian for Gerontology, at 778.782.5043 or (Monday to Thursday) at Belzberg Library or Ask a Librarian


Course Description


"This course provides students with an understanding of aging and the aged from a sociological perspective. It illustrates how the integration of theory and methodology from the social sciences can be used to describe, explain, and predict social gerontological phenomena and to analyze critically the implications of these patterns for social policy. Students will develop an awareness and appreciation of the social significance of aging in a variety of cultural contexts but with a strong emphasis on Canadian society. Topics include demographic aspects of aging, historical perspectives, theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of aging, health status and health care issues, living environments and aging, family and social support across the life-cycle, and social policy. Sociology of aging is a subject area that is often "applied"; that is, research in the field tends to identify solutions (e.g., to make policy recommendations and/or develop programs) to social problems. For this reason, it frequently adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the study of aging. However, the course predominantly draws on research conducted by sociologists."

Note: for more information see SA/GERO 420's  course outline or  Canvas page. If there are discrepancies between  information listed on this page and that in Canvas or instructor handouts, please refer to the latter.]

Services for Distance Education students

Consult the guide Services for Distance Education students if you are off campus.


Start Your Research Here - This page gives you an overview of the research process, or in other words how to find materials for your essay.

Reference works

To get definitions, overviews of concepts, and suggested resources for your topic start with:

  • A dictionary of sociology [online]  
  • Encyclopedia of aging : a comprehensive resource in gerontology and geriatrics [print]
  • Handbook of aging and the social sciences [online]
  • Handbook of sociology of aging [print and online]
  • The Sage dictionary of sociology [print and online]
  • The Sage handbook of social gerontology [print and online]

Finding books

  • Aging as a social process: Canadian perspectives [print
  • Aging by the book [print]
  • Baby boomer health dynamics: How are we aging? [print]
  • Fact book on Aging in B.C. and Canada (7th Edition, 2019)
    Statistical overview, published by the Gerontology Research Centre at SFU
  • Transitions and transformations : cultural perspectives on aging and the life course [print]

Search the SFU Library catalogue to find books on your topic. Sample subject headings:

Finding journal articles

Start with: Ageline
The major database for gerontology topics.  See An Introduction to the Ageline Database

The major database for psychology

Sociological Abstracts
Theoretical and applied sociology, social science, and policy science

Canada Commons.
Canadian public policy documents from government and nonprofit organizations as well as think tanks

NOTE: Journal articles in SFU databases are generally scholarly; if you need to determine whether a journal is peer-reviewed see the FAQ What is a peer-reviewed journal? or go straight to Ulrich's to see whether a journal is peer-reviewed (or refereed)

    Useful sites

    • Administration on Aging (US) - principal organization of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services which carries out the Older Americans Act, provides statistics and news related to the aging population
    • BC Ministry of Health - provincial ministry for health providing reports and publications on health and aging
    • SeniorsBC Family & Social Supports
    •  Report on Health and Aging in Canada Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA)
      Covers: Sociodemographics; Retirement; Loneliness, Social Isolation, and Social Engagement; Caregiving and Care Receiving;  Health; Physical Function, Disability, and Psychological Health and Well-Being; Lifestyle and Behaviour; Transportation Mobility; Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) Aging
    • Statistics Canada, including SeniorsCensus, and Aboriginal Peoples sections

    Writing help

    Selected resources on writing essays: