Denise Cloutier

Denise Cloutier
Health services; quality of life; long-term care; social isolation; homelessness
Office: DTB B360

PhD (Guelph)

Area of expertise

Older adults, health services research; quality of life; long-term care; social isolation; homelessness; mixed methods research; Indigenous methodologies

The Caregiver Journey help sheet, a collaboration with Taylor Hainstock.

I am a Full Professor in the Department of Geography, and a Research Fellow with the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health at the University of Victoria where I have been since 2001. As a health and social geographer, I am interested in geographies of aging. In particular, my research centres around health services and the ‘continuum of care’ for older adults. Currently, the systems that support older adults whether family or friend-based or community care are still very siloed and uncoordinated. I am similarly interested in healthy environments for aging and the quality of life of older persons. I often employ a lifecourse perspective - aiming to understand intersecting trajectories that are geographical, cultural, economic, political, personal, and relational as influences on the health and well-being of individuals. Integrated and innovative models and systems of care delivery that focus on access, continuity, availability, and equity whether people live in their own homes in the community (e.g., housing, transportation, amenities, and services) or in facilities (e.g., assisted living, and nursing homes) are important to me. In 2019, I was thrilled to receive the Provosts’ Community Engaged Scholar Award for my community-based scholarship. Since then I have re-engaged with work on issues related to social isolation, and newly engaged with working with older women with lived expertise of homelessness to better understand the pathways into and out of housing insecurity.

My research and teaching focus on a wide toolbox of methodologies - quantitative, qualitative, Indigenous, and mixed methods approaches.  I have been fortunate to teach these methods courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Some of the courses I have taught include: Introduction to Human Geography, Health, Environment and Community, Disaster Planning and Community Resilience, Health and Place, Coastal Health, Qualitative Methods, and Exploring Aging through Film. I am passionate about working with students to support their interests in being lifelong learners and critical thinkers.


My research reflects a strong commitment to understanding ways to improve the daily lives of older adults and their families in terms of healthy aging, care and health services delivery.  I have conducted research with many specific population groups including individuals living in rural and small town environments, persons living with dementia, home care and long-term care clients, palliative care clients, stroke survivors, those who are socially isolated, and women who have experienced homelessness and housing insecurity.  My research has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the United Way, and the World Health Organization. My current research on homelessness and housing insecurity for older women is funded by CIHR and SSHRC.

My research is published in journals such as Progress in Human Geography, the GerontologistJournal of GerontologySocial Sciences and MedicineHealth and PlaceJournal of Aging Studies, Canadian Journal of Public Health, and Canadian Journal of Aging, Journal of Women and Aging and BMC Health Services Research.


My teaching philosophy is essentially governed by the viewpoint that learning is a lifelong process and that the ideal environment for learning is one in which students and instructors believe themselves to be joint partners in a mutual adventure.  This means that the adage ‘you get out what you put in’ is true for all parties. I also agree with award-winning teachers on campus and outside the university who suggest that having a sense of humour is extremely beneficial to the learning process! In a real-life context, my undergraduate and graduate students, and my own two grown children are endless sources of inspiration to me, and provide many meaningful life examples and illustrations for teaching and learning.

My central goal is to keep students motivated, and excited about learning, and to sustain within them an appreciation for geography, broadly conceptualized, and the spatial world in which we live.  To promote and maintain interest, I use a mixture of methods of discussion and group work, seminars, one minute papers, and lab assignments.  Where possible, I embellish text and course reading materials with relevant examples from video clips, books and other literature, the internet, my experience, music, etc.  One additional advantage that I believe I bring into the classroom is that I have worked as a geographer in many diverse environments outside of the university.  Alongside my interest in applied research, I believe that I can offer students a unique learning experience.


Google Scholar

Information help sheet
The Caregiver Journey: Questions to consider when helping your family member enter residential care.

a.  Articles Published in Refereed Journals

Note: Italicized author names represent publications with students.

(in press) Tung, A. G., Cloutier, D., Rose-Redwood, R. (2021). Serving Us Rights: Securing the Right to Food in Canada. Canadian Review of Social Policy, 81. December.

Stewart, A. & Cloutier, D. (2021). More than a Roof: Housing Challenges for Older Women, Journal of Women and Aging, July.

Cloutier, D., Stajduhar, K., Roberts, D., Roland, K., Dujela, C. (2021). Bare Bones and Silver Linings?: Lessons on Integrating a Palliative Approach to Care in Long-term Care. BMC Health Services Research. 610.

St. John, P., Menec, V., Tate, R. Newall, N., Cloutier, D. O’Connell, M. (2021). Life Satisfaction in Adults in Rural and Urban Regions of Canada – The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, Rural and Remote Health, 21, 3or4.

St. John, P., Menec, V., Tate, R., Newall, N., O’Connell, M., Cloutier, D. (2021). Functional Status in rural and urban adults – the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, Journal of Rural Health, March, DOI: 10.1111/jrh.12578.

Giesbrecht, M., Stajduhar, K., Cloutier, D., Dujela, C. (2021). We are to be like machines…fill the bed before it gets cold: Exploring the emotional geographies of healthcare providers caring for dying residents in long-term care. Social Sciences and Medicine, 272, March, 113749

Clark, K., St. John, P., Menec, V., Cloutier, D., Newall, N., O’Connell, M. (2021). Healthcare utilization among Canadian adults in rural and urban areas – the Canadian longitudinal Study on Aging, Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine 26, 2, DOI: 10.4103/CJRM.CJRM_43_20.

Cloutier, D., Stajduhar, K. (2021). Healthy Debate. If not now, when? Applying a Palliative Approach in, January.

Mellor, A., Surrounded by Cedar Children and Family Services, Cloutier, D., Claxton, N. (2020). “Youth will feel Honoured if they are Reminded they are Loved”: Supporting Coming of Age for Urban Indigenous Youth in Care, International Journal of Indigenous Health, 16, 2, 308-321. September.

Mellor, A., Surrounded by Cedar Child and Family Services, Cloutier, D. (2020). Becoming Self-in-Relation: Coming of Age as a Pathway towards Wellness for Urban Indigenous Youth in Care. First Peoples Child & Family Review, 15(2), 3-22.

Haikio, K., Cloutier, D., Rugkasa, J. (2020). Is Health Literacy associated with carer burden, quality of life and time spent on informal care for older persons living with dementia? PLoS One, November, 16 pages.

Stajduhar, K., Cloutier, D.S. (2020). Not Scared of Dying but of Dying Scared. Healthy Debates, op-ed. June 16th.

Cloutier, D.S., Brendle-Moczuk, D. (2020). Health Services and Service Restructuring. In: Kobayashi, A. (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 2nd edition. vol. 6, Elsevier, pp. 335–345.

Kobayashi, K.M., Cloutier, D.S., Khan, M., Fitzgerald, K. (2020). Asset-Based Community Development to Promote Healthy Aging in a Rural Context in Western Canada: Notes from the Field, Journal of Community Practice, 28, 1, 66-76. January.

Keefe, J., Hande, M.J., Aubrecht, K., Daly, T., Cloutier, D., Taylor, D., Hoben, M., Stajduhar, K., Cook, H., MacDonald, L., Estabrooks, C.A. (2019). Team-based integrated knowledge translation for enhancing quality of life in long term care settings: A multi-method, multi-sectoral research design, International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 9(4), 138-142.

Funk, L.M., Stajduhar, K., Giesbrecht, M., Cloutier, D., Williams, A., Wolse, F. (2019). Applying the concept of structural empowerment to interactions between families and home care nurses. Nursing Inquiry DOI: 10.1111/nin.12313.

Kobayashi, K.M., Kampen, R., Cox, A., Cloutier, D. Cook, H., Taylor, D., Gaspard, G., Khan, M.M. (2018). Changing roles of care team members within new models of care delivery in residential care facilities: Implications for the delivery of quality of care. International Journal of Aging Research, 2018

Buchan, R., Cloutier, D.S., Friedman, A. (2018). Transformative Incrementalism: Planning for Transformative Change in Local Food Systems. Progress in Planning, July 29th. Role: 2nd author extensive contributions in terms of content and editing.

Saleh, N., Penning, M., Cloutier, D., Mallidou, A., Nuernberger, K., Taylor, D. (2017). Social Engagement and Antipsychotic Use in Addressing the Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia in Long-Term Care Facilities, Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 49, 4: 144-152.

Hainstock, T., Cloutier, D., Penning, M. (2017). From home to 'home': Mapping the caregiver journey in the transition from home care into residential care. Journal of Aging Studies, Dec 43, 32-39. doi: 10.1016/j.jaging.2017.09.003. Epub 2017 Sep 14.

Cloutier, D., Penning, M. (2017). Janus at the Crossroads: Perspectives on Long-term Care Trajectories for Older Women with Dementia in a Canadian Context. The Gerontologist, Special Issue: Aging-It’s Personal. 57 (1), 68-81.

Cloutier, D., Penning, M.J., Nuernberger, K., Taylor, D., MacDonald, S.W.S. (2017). Long-term care Service Trajectories and their Predictors for Persons with Evidence of Dementia: Results from a Canadian Study. Journal of Aging and Health, 1-26. doi/pdf/10.1177/0898264317725618.

Penning, M., Cloutier, D., Nuernberger, K., Taylor, D. (2017). When I said I wanted to die at home I didn’t mean a nursing home: Care trajectories at the end of life. Innovation in Aging, 2017, Vol. 00, No. 00, 1–13 doi:10.1093/geroni/igx011.