An active role for the elderly in the process for an integrated Europe
The European project entitled "Integrating adults and the elderly towards a Europe of knowledge", coordinated by the University of Almería, within the actions of "Grundtvig learning partnerships for adult education", has carried out the assessment of an educational program for people over 55 years in five countries. The aim of the learning partnership was “to encourage the development of innovative practices in education of older people and their transfer between countries”.
Methods: Some of the following teaching tools and methods were used to promote intercultural communication skills: simulation activities, followed by reflective discussion and/or written analysis; guided group activities; local visits to contact people from other countries; ethnographic projects.
Results: The courses provide knowledge and understanding about culture, institutions and different ways of life in diverse communities, and encourage reflection about their own cultural behaviour, practices and attitudes, as well as those of others. Old people enhance communication in their community, by means of meetings in which they talk about their common concerns. This can help the elderly to overcome problems and reduce feelings of loneliness. The courses also help old people acquire new knowledge and skills in a rapidly changing world.
Conclusions: Participants’ motivation increased as the sessions were developed, since the contents of the classes agreed with their own interests, with a constant widening of knowledge. Everybody had an active role in the discussions. This training has shown some aspects about ageing, such as the removal of the image of the idle retired person; at the same time it promotes active retirement, intergenerational relationships and independence, and improves social and personal skills
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