Promoting Active Aging through Lifelong Learning: Evolving Trends and Practices

By Eugenia A. Panitsides and Adamantios Papastamatis.

Published by The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning

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Rationale: Within a context of socioeconomic changes in Europe, emerging problems are intensified by an aging population. Despite possessing abundant experience and skills, not necessarily fading over time, the elderly are the most “unexploited” human resources. Hence, it is a mandate to activate their potential, helping them to remain active after retirement, setting, thus, a framework for long-term growth and social cohesion. Objectives: In light of recent research, the empowering nature of education provides a convincing rationale for increasing the range of opportunities for older people. Thus, the main purpose of the present paper is to draw on Lifelong Learning (LLL) initiatives and policies for ameliorating well-being and activity patterns during the third age. Methodology: A systematic review of relevant literature and current practices is undertaken, to identify best schemes, regarding educational initiatives, programmes, and institutions to widen learning opportunities for seniors, promote intergenerational learning through volunteering and mentoring initiatives, as well as shift perspectives regarding seniors’ potential. Findings: The increasingly important role that LLL can play in promoting active aging, as well as delaying or minimizing dependence of older population on the public purse, is depicted. Moreover, findings provide for a framework to tackle the aging problem, through building on existing experience and practices and suggestions for interventions to foster active aging, intergenerational learning, as well as changing mindsets regarding seniors’ role in modern societies.

Keywords: Lifelong Learning, Third Age, Active Aging, Intergenerational Learning, Social Cohesion

The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp.59-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 367.302KB).

Dr. Eugenia A. Panitsides

Scientific Collaborator, Department of Educational and Social Policy, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece

Dr. Eugenia A. Panitsidou is Scientific Collaborator with the Department of Educational and Social Policy, University of Macedonia, Greece. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, a Master's Degree in Continuing Education and a Ph.D. in Lifelong Education from the University of Macedonia. She has worked and collaborated with many educational institutions as tutor in adult education programmes, while she has been lecturing at the Department of Educational and Social Policy, University of Macedonia. She has also been collaborating with the Pedagogical Institute of Greece, the Interbalkan Institute of Public Management, as well as with the University of the Aegean. She is member of several scientific societies and she has been member of the Organising and Scientific Committees of three International Conferences. Her research interests include European Union education policy, private and social impact of participation in lifelong education and quality provision and assessment of adult education courses, while she has participated in three major research projects. Dr. Panitsidou is author and co-author of more than 40 works (books, journal articles and conference presentations) in English, and Greek.

Dr. Adamantios Papastamatis

Associate Professor, Department of Educational and Social Policy, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece

Dr. Adamantios J. Papastamatis is Associate Professor of Teaching Methodology in Continuous Education at the Department of Educational and Social Policy at the University of Macedonia (Thessaloniki, Greece). Professor Papastamatis has a long administrative and academic career in education and training. He has organised and participated as member of organising and scientific committees in many international and Greek conferences. Additionally, he has participated in several research projects. Professor Papastamatis has been an invited speaker to several universities in Greece and abroad, while he has a significant number of publications (books, journal articles, conference presentations, keynote speeches) both in Greece and abroad.