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Grenier Amanda, Professor | Gilbrea Chair in Aging & Mental Health | Chair of Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging

photo of Amanda Grenier

Amanda Grenier

Professor | Gilbrea Chair in Aging & Mental Health | Chair of Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging

Associate Members
School of Social Work

Department of Health Aging & Society

Area(s) of Interest:


Dr. Grenier joined McMaster in 2011 as Associate Professor in Health, Aging and Society, Gilbrea Chair in Aging and Mental Health, and Director of the Gilbrea Centre for the Study of Aging. Prior to this, she worked in the School of Social Work at McGill University (2004-2011). She is an honorary fellow of the Centre for Social Gerontology at Keele University (UK) and an affiliated researcher of the Centre de recherche et d'expertise de gérontologie sociale (CREGES) and the Centre Affilie Universitaire of the CSSS Cavendish in Montreal, Quebec.

Dr. Grenier's work explores the social constructs of aging and challenges taken-for-granted assumptions related to late life. Dr. Grenier's research focuses on the interface of public policies, organizational practices, and older people's lived experience. Her work focuses on conceptual questions in social and critical gerontology, models used to frame and address aging in Western societies, and the subjective interpretations of ageing and late life. She has collected older people's narratives with regards to late life transitions, impairment, and 'frailty' and continues to explore how these narratives can inform contemporary planning efforts. The tensions between biomedical/functional models and the social and interpretive aspects of aging are a central component of her work.

Ongoing research interests and projects in development include:

  • bridging gaps between concepts, research, and practice in social gerontology;
  • exploring the intersections of aging and homelessness in Montreal, Quebec;
  • developing an international network of scholars advancing critical perspectives on the study of aging;
  • understanding the contradictions regarding late life, frailty and risk;
  • exploring the degree to which older people's experience 'fit' with expected transitions and age-based models of care;
  • collecting the narratives of older people from varying social locations;
  • collaborating in professional training and knowledge exchange activities.

Areas of interest

  • Aging, Late Life, & Identity
  • Health, Mental Health, Disability & Decline
  • Narrative Approaches & Qualitative Methodology
  • The intersections of social policy and lived experience
  • Diverse Social Locations that Impact/Disrupt the 'Storylines' of Ageing
  • Theoretical Approaches in Critical Gerontology

Graduate Student Opportunities

Dr. Grenier welcomes graduate students with interests in social gerontology, late life transitions and the social construction and lived experiences of aging. Graduate students will be offered opportunities to work in collaboration with ongoing research teams and networks. Former graduate students have explored topics such as aging with a disability, embodiment, loss, identity, the meaning of home in late life, transitions to retirement, to name a few.


Postdoctoral Fellow (Keele University, UK) 2003

Ph.D. (McGill University / Université de Montréal) 2002

MSW (McGill University) 1998

BSW (University of Windsor) 1997


Current Funded Research and Collaboration

Grenier, A. (PI)., Sussman, T., Rothwell, D., Lavoie, J-P. (April 2012-2015). Homelessness in late life: growing old on the streets, in shelters and long-term care. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) - Insights Grant. $169,060

Sherifali, D., Meneilly, G., (Co-PI)., Clement M, Grenier A, Gerstein H, Hall P, Heckman G, Yu C. (June 2013-June 2014). Diabetes Management and Education in Older Adults:  The development of a national network and consensus of key clinical and research priorities. Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Nutrition and Metabolism (Priority Announcement). $24,990.

Sinding, C. (PI). Fudge Schormans, A., Sammon, S., Grenier, A., Gillett, J., Rethmann, P., Frost, C., DeFalco, A., Graham, C., (January 2013-July 2014). Proposal for the Arts-Centred, Community-Engaged Social Sciences Project [the ACCESS Project].McMaster Faculty of Social Sciences- Collaborative Research Initiatives, $50,000.

Andrews, G.. Gillett, J.   (Co-PI). Cain,R., Sinding, C., Zhou, R., Grenier, A., Freeman, B., Denis, J., Pawluch, D., Premji, S., Frolic, A., Moffat, T., Wilton, R., Chouinard, V., Risdon, C., Schwartz, L., Bouchier, N., Ploeg, J., Strachan, P., Clarke, D. (January 2013-June 2014). Critical Health Research Network (CHRN):  Setting the Scene: Underlying Themes in Twenty-first Century Health and Health Care. McMaster Faculty of Social Sciences- Collaborative Research Initiatives, $47,000.

Examples of Completed Research Projects

Grenier, A. (PI), Bernard, M., Charpentier, M., Scharf, T., Phillipson, C., Brotman, S., Sussman, T., Katz, S., McMullin, J., Torres, S., Biggs, S., Calasanti, T., Dumas, A., Viroit-Durandal, J.P. (861-2008-1029) (2009-2010). Contemporary Issues in Critical gerontology: An International Initiative. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). International Opportunities Fund, $25,000.

Grenier, A. & Black Council on Aging (BCA) (PI/Academic Partner). (March 2008-May 2009). Lifestories from Montreal's Black community: Documenting the history of our eldest members. Funded by the New Horizon’s Program for Seniors: Heritage Canada, $25,000.

Grenier, A. (PI), Leonard, P., Biggs, S., Manthorpe, J. (May 2005-April 2008). Late life transitions: Understanding the "fit" between policy and personal experience. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC): Standard Research Grant, $121,613.

Grenier, A. (PI). (Jan 2004-Dec 2006). Project #88518. Understanding notions of managed care in Quebec: An ethnographic account of implementing reforms into home care services/La gestion des soins a domicile au Québec: une étude ethnographique sur l'implantation des réformes dans les services de maintien à domicile. Fonds Québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC): Établissement de nouveaux chercheurs, $45,000.

Selected Publications

Books and Edited Collections

Baars J., Dohmen J., Grenier, A., & Phillipson, C. (Eds.). (2013). Ageing, meaning and social structure: Connecting critical and humanistic gerontology. Bristol: Policy Press. 

Grenier, A. (2012). Transitions and the lifecourse: contested models of 'growing old'. Policy Press: Ageing and the Lifecourse Series (Ed Judith Phillips).

M. Charpentier, N. Guberman, V. Billette, J.-P. Lavoie, A. Grenier et I. Olazabal, (Eds). (2010). Vieillir au pluriel. Perspectives sociales. Quebec : Presses Universitaires du Québec (PUQ).

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

Raymond, E., and Grenier, A. (2015). Social participation at the intersection of old age and lifelong disabilities: Illustrations from a Photo-Novel project. Journal of Aging Studies, Vol. 35, pp. 190-200.

Raymond, E., Grenier, A., & Hanley, J. (2014). The community participation of seniors with disabilities: A matter of self-determination, inclusive environments and identity integration. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 24 (1): 50-62.

Burns, V., Grenier, A., Lavoie, J.P., Rothwell, D., Sussman, T. (2013). Les personnes âgées itinérantes – invisibles et exclues. Une analyse de trois stratégies pour contrer l’itinérance. Frontières,  21 (1).

Raymond, E., & Grenier, A. (2013). The rhetoric of participation in policy discourse: Toward a new form of exclusion for seniors with disabilities. Canadian Journal on Aging/La Revue canadienne du vieillissement, 32(2), 117-129. doi: 10.1017/S0714980813000135.

Carpentier, N., & Grenier, A. (2012). Successful linkage between formal and informal care systems: the mobilization of outside help by caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease. Qualitative Health Research, 22(10):1330-44. doi: 10.1177/1049732312451870.

Raymond, E., & Grenier, A. (2012). Vieillissement actif et aînés handicapés au Québec: Duo du possible ou mirage? Les Politiques Sociales, no. 1-2, 113-125.

Carpentier, N., Bernard, P., Grenier, A., Guberman, N. (2010). Using the life course perspective to study the entry into the illness trajectory: the perspective of caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Social Science & Medicine, 70, pp.1501-1508.

Grenier, A. & Guberman, N. (2009). Creating and sustaining disadvantage: The relevance of a social exclusion framework. Health and Social Care in the Community, 17(2), pp.116-124.

Grenier, A. (2007). Crossing age and generational boundaries: Exploring intergenerational research encounters. Journal of Social Issues, 63(4), 713-727.

Grenier, A. (2007). Constructions of frailty in the English language, care practice and the lived experience. Ageing & Society, 27(3), 425-445.

Grenier, A., & Hanley, J. (2007). Older women & 'frailty': Aged, gendered and embodied resistance. Current Sociology, 55(2), 211-228.

Book Chapters

Grenier, A. (2015). Transitions and time. In J. Twigg & W. Martin (Eds.), Handbook of Cultural Gerontology. London: Routledge.

Grenier, A., & Phillipson, C. (2013).  Rethinking agency in late life: structural and interpretive approaches.  In J. Baars, J. Dohmen, A. Grenier, & C. Phillipson, (Eds.), Ageing, meaning and social structure: Connecting critical and humanistic gerontology(pp. 55-79).  Bristol: Policy Press.

Grenier, A., & Brotman, S., (2010). Section 1 – Les multiples vieillissements et leurs représentations. Vieillir au pluriel.Perspectives sociales. Quebec : Presses Universitaires du Québec, pp. 38-47.

Grenier, A., & Ferrer, I., (2010). Chapitre 1. Âge, vieillesse, vieillissement : définitions controversées de l’âge. Vieillir au pluriel.Perspectives sociales. Quebec : Presses Universitaires du Québec, pp. 48-71.

Grenier, A. (2009). Les femmes âgées et la fragilité : la résistance face aux pratiques de soins de santé et de services sociaux. Dans Charpentier, M. & Quéniart, A. Femmes, vieillissement et société : regards pluridisciplinaires. Montréal: Éditions du Remue-ménage.