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older adults, Sheridan Elder Research Centre


This participatory research project explored the experience of creating and delivering an elder circle program in an online format as well as investigating the benefits to the participants. Elder circles are facilitated, elder-centred small closed groups of older adults who explore collaboratively the experience of growing old and living in old age. The researcher, with the help of her participant co-researchers, successfully translated a face-to-face elder circle model to an online format. The six participants, aged 70 to 87, met online without previously knowing each other and for six weeks engaged in facilitated asynchronous discussion on a secure dedicated website. The online format was shown to be an effective alternative to face-to-face delivery of an elder circle, with significant – even transformative – benefits to the participants. The report presents an overview of the process of creating and delivering an online elder circle, participants’ reflections on their learning and the benefits received, key considerations for the effective implementation of the online program, and recommendations for future research.


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Sheridan Centre for Elder Research (SERC)

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Original Publication Citation

Medcalf, T., Tsotsos, L., & Spadafora, P. (2013). Online elder circles: A guide to their creation and benefits. [Report]. Oakville: Sheridan Elder Research Centre (SERC).

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