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Lifelong learning in active ageing discourse: its conserving effect on wellbeing, health and vulnerability

  • MIYA NARUSHIMA (a1), JIAN LIU (a1) and NAOMI DIESTELKAMP (a2)
Abstract

The Active Ageing Framework has been adapted as a global strategy in ageing policies, practices and research over the last decade. Lifelong learning, however, has not been fully integrated into this discourse. Using survey data provided by 416 adults (aged 60 years and above) enrolled in non-formal general-interest courses in a public continuing education programme in Canada, this study examined the association between older adults’ duration of participation in the courses and their level of psychological wellbeing, while taking their age, gender, self-rated health and vulnerability level into consideration. An analytical framework was developed based on the literature of old-age vulnerabilities and the benefits of lifelong learning. Two logistic regression and trend analyses were conducted. The results indicate that older adults’ participation is independently and positively associated with their psychological wellbeing, even among those typically classified as ‘vulnerable’. This result provides additional evidence that suggests the continuous participation in non-formal lifelong learning may help sustain older adults’ psychological wellbeing. It provides older learners, even those who are most vulnerable, with a compensatory strategy to strengthen their reserve capacities, allowing them to be autonomous and fulfilled in their everyday life. The result of this study highlights the value of the strategic and unequivocal promotion of community-based non-formal lifelong learning opportunities for developing inclusive, equitable and caring active ageing societies.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Miya Narushima, Department of Health Sciences, Brock University, 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2S3A1 E-mail: mnarushima@brocku.ca
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