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The six key competencies for life learning in later life and active ageing

von Altheo VALENTINI
Sprache: EN
Document available also in: ES BG CS ET DE SV HU FR LV NL PL SL

The six key competencies for life learning in later life and active ageing

Social inclusion of the elderly is one of the European Commission’s flagship policies. It has been constantly promoted during past programming periods and by many different EU Funding Instruments and Programmes. In this way, it has been possible to highlight the multitude of aspects that can contribute to widespread recognition of the social and cultural value of keeping the elderly members of our communities active and fully involved in the sustainable development of our society.
Some years ago, thanks to the implementation of a very impactful project financed by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission and aimed at engaging elderly people with critical analysis of European cinema and practical film making experience (CINAGE – European Cinema for Active Ageing), I had the chance to participate in the identification and analysis of the six most relevant competencies for active ageing.

In a bid to inspire and engage the members of the EPALE community in actively contributing at the next online discussion on the “Social inclusion of the ageing population and intergenerational learning”, scheduled for Wednesday 28 October, I have collated a list of success stories and good practices, formally recognised as such by the Commission within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. I hereby present them under the headings of the six competencies mentioned above.  

  1. Learning
    This concerns opportunities to take part in learning in later life, including self-directed learning, opportunities to update or develop skills, creative learning opportunities, and training in new technologies.
    Old Guys Say Yes to Community” is an Erasmus+ project which seeks to foster the inclusion of older citizens in learning and education activities to positively impact their well-being, health and social life. This two-year project has produced many different outputs and an OERs (Open Educational Resources) platform where you can find the Old Guys Learning Materials.
  2. Civic and community
    This concerns being an active older citizen, taking part in voluntary or paid activities which benefit the individual and society. The community to which an individual contributes may be a family, local service, neighbourhood, town, region, nation or global community. Civic activity can also contribute to intergenerational cohesion.
    One very good example of this competence is Mobility Scouts, a project aimed at involving older men and women in decision making processes and enabling and empowering them to contribute to the creation of age-friendly environments and services as co-producers. The partners of Mobility Scouts have developed an Online Training Course available in 5 different languages that provides background information, inspirational examples and practical tools to participate in the creation of age-friendly environments. 
  3. Health
    This concerns maintaining well-being in older age, which has physical, mental and social aspects. Lifestyle, quality of services and support, and opportunity for social connections, care and security can influence health and well-being. Being one of the most represented topics within the panorama of Erasmus+ projects targeting elderly people, the reason for selecting Vivifrail as an inspirational initiative for this article centres on the fact that the whole project is based on the idea that health in older people should be measured in terms of how well it functions and not as a disease that determines life expectancy, quality of life, and resources or forms of support that each population needs. Furthermore, the online resources produced by the Vivifail partnership are available in 11 EU languages and are currently being used by more than 5000 health professionals reaching a population of more than 15,000 people.
  4. Emotional
    This concerns maintaining autonomy and dignity in older age, and providing and receiving meaningful social and emotional connections, care and support, both at home and in the community.
    Handling Multiculturality in Care is another very useful project that addresses the combination of demographic and intercultural challenges. The direct involvement of caregivers in co-designing their own training material, the engagement of professional actors in training activities and, more generally, the very close cooperation between working life and education in the overall development and planning of the pedagogic process make this project one of the most relevant to the “Emotional” competence.
  5. Financial/Economic
    This concerns aspects of the economic environment that have a particular impact on active ageing and security. In other words, income, opportunities for work, and social protection e.g. pensions and other allowances. What about a Warehouse of Opportunities? A collection of means and resources where people over fifty can find tools to help them organise their lives and realise future plans. Such tools could be used to acquire new skills and fulfil their life, start a new career, start a business, find new friends or get an overview of their finances. This is the main output of the Catch the Ball project, which together with the Academy of Opportunities specifically aims to fulfil the needs of people in their third age in order to enable them to find new ways and means of developing and growing, so that their latter years of life may be active and enjoyable.
  6. Technological
    This concerns access to and use of technology, including computers, mobile phones and apps - for social networking, e-communication, eLearning. It also concerns assistive technologies, for example for mobility to maintain active ageing; or for obtaining care to support independence, for example telecare. Within this last competence area, it is worth mentioning the AcTive project, whose overall aim is to develop training materials that pay particular attention to the specific needs of people who are not experienced in using ICT-based devices (e.g. smartphones or emergency call systems). These training materials can be used by peers, friends and family but also by professional users to answer questions and evidence the benefits that technology has to offer to support daily life. The training material is supported by an online platform.
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  • Bild des Benutzers Ieva Kalvāne
    Es piekrītu rakstam. Noteikti šīs 6 prasmes ir nozīmīgas senjoriem. Izlasot pirmo punktu "Mācību prasmes" mani iepriecina, ka senjoriem ir iespēja dalīties savā pieredzē. Manuprāt, tas ir galvenais, ka viņi paši var izpaust savas pieredzes, jo to gadu laikā noteikti ir bijis daudz. Man tas liekas pārdomāti. Protams, ka šajā sarakstā ir arī prasmes, kas saistās ar socializēšanos, veselību un tehnoloģijām.  
  • Bild des Benutzers Sylwia Fogel
    Wszystkie poruszone w artykule punkty są niezwykle istotne dla prawidłowego egzystowania. Zadowalające jest to, że powstaje tak dużo dużo świetnych inicjatyw dla seniorów. Do myślenia daje jedynie fakt, że duża część z wypisanych projektów opiera się na platformie internetowej, co może być dużą barierą dla osób w podeszłym wieku. Nie mniej jednak założenia są przemyślane i należy mieć nadzieję na ich dalszy rozwój. 
  • Bild des Benutzers Mateja Gris
    Povezava "gradiva za starejše moške" ne deluje.
    Rezultate projekta bi rada preučila. Morda bi se jih dalo povezati/razširiti na področje aktivnosti starejših za ozaveščanje in širjenje znanj o varnosti na osebnem nivoju, nivoju družine, bivalnega okolja.
    Mateja Gris 
  • Bild des Benutzers Marta Kosińska
    Większość tych kategorii jest ze sobą skorelowana i w dużym stopniu zależy od zgromadzonych w ciągu życia kapitałów społecznych i kulturowych. W obliczu pauperyzacji osób starszych w Polsce, w szczególności kobiet, praktycznie wszystkie z wymienionych kryteriów często będą okazywały się niemożliwe do osiągnięcia. Projekty adresujące je w polskich warunkach będą musiały mieć bardzo kompleksowy charakter, aby wyjść poza edukację już wyedukowanych seniorów z klasy średniej. 
  • Bild des Benutzers Anna Lavei
    Nõustun autoriga, et emotsionaalsuse kui pädevuse esiletõstmine on oluline nii eakate elus kui ka hooldajate töös. Hooldajate teadlikkus erinevatest kultuuridest, LGBTQ teemadest ning teistest võimalikest väärtussüsteemidest, milles nende hoolealused elavad, tagab emotsionaalse pädevuse rakendumise. See aga eeldab, et hooldustöötajate õppe raames antakse tulevikuhooldajatele edasi artiklis välja toodud võtmepädevuste teadmised ja oskused. Nii saavad hooldajad tõsta hoolealustega töös tunduvalt suhtlemise kvaliteeti.
  • Bild des Benutzers Kristel Pohlak
    Alustuseks: aga MIKS peab juba eos põlvkonnad eraldama mingisugustesse spetsiaalselt neile loodud kogukondadesse või (õppe)gruppidesse? Sellepärast, et vanad on aeglasemad ja noored viledamad uudses maailmas/tehnoloogias orienteeruma? Tegelikult on vanad nagu väikesed lapsed - veidi kohmakad, uudishimulikud ja õpihimulised ning alati valmis noortega koos harjutama, sest (saladus) vanainimese hing ei vanane! OK, keha on vähe rohmakas ja voldiline. On palju asju, mida kõik vanusegrupid koos saavad õppida. Tegelikult mitmetes riikides ka tõepoolest ongi kursuseid, kus vanaduspiiranguid ei ole - tule või ratastoolis kohale! Ja milline armas sünenergia neil koolitustel valitseb! Tõsi, enamasti on need käelist tegevust arendavad või kunstikursused, sest ega tahagi noored mujal oma kalleid pärusmaid juba kord neil radadel olnutega eriti jagada. Konkurendid ikkagi! Pealegi targemad, kogenumad. Just see kogemuste pagas, mis vanades on ja ehk lisaks ka jonnaklik paindumatus muutumiste ees, on need kaks põhjust, mis võivad põlvkonnad konflikti viia. Ometi, USA-s on täiesti normaalne, et vanad ja noored kõike koos õpivad, kui vanad just juba vanadekodudesse pole sattunud. Ka Hollandis pole vahet, kui vana on kursist. Kui ta tahab õppida ja suudab kursusele tulla, on ta igati teretulnud. Ja seal maal oskavad ka kaak-posid vanemaid austada - nad on vanadega ühiskonnas harjunud. 
    Mina olen juba otsustanud -  hakkan Eestis kunsti ja kunstiettevõtlust õpetama kõigile... korraga. Sest seda tegi ka minu meister/õpetaja Hollandis ja see toimis suurepäraselt. Inimesi ei peaks vanuse, arvatavate võimete või kuuluvuse järgi lahterdama, arvan ma, sest kus on soov, seal on ka vägi. Harva, kui vägi enne lõppu otsa saab, olgu see lõpp siis vähemalt lõbus! Pealegi, muidu me ei õpigi austama üksteist ja arvestama erinevustega.