Kerrie Strathy, an adult educator by profession, is Division Head at the University of Regina Lifelong Learning Centre (LLC) where she works with older adults, including Aboriginal Grandmothers caring for grandchildren and the Seniors’ University Group. Kerrie spent almost seven years at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji working on environment awareness programs with traditional healers and others. She has served on many boards and is currently on the Regina Open Door Society Board. Kerrie’s interests include, strategic planning, program evaluation, board development, volunteerism, and retirement planning, as well as cross-cultural, gender, and environment awareness.
50 is an age, not a best before date! Go for Life!
The Lifelong Learning Centre at the University of Regina offers a wide range of learning and volunteer opportunities for older adults in Regina. For more than 40 years the Centre has worked with University faculty and community members to enable older adults to be active and engaged in our community. Through these courses older adults have learned how to read the word and the world – from Literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL) to Middle-East Current Affairs, Understanding World Religions, and Social Media for Seniors.
The Lifelong Learning Centre is also engaged in a number of outreach activities to reach older adults who are at risk of being socially isolated. These include Aboriginal Grandmothers Caring for Grandchildren, Intercultural Grandmothers Uniting and a great group of volunteers who are determined to reduce older adult abuse via presentations made to older adults and those who work with them including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who receive their training in Regina.
Research has revealed that loneliness – or social isolation – can have a serious impact on both the mental and physical health of older adults with some suggesting that being lonely may be more harmful to health than obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes per day. Since older adults who are socially engaged live longer and healthier lives than those who are socially isolated, policy makers and governments should invest in older adult learning programs and promote active aging though learning and volunteering . This investment would reduce demand for increased health spending as senior populations increase in Saskatchewan, across Canada, and around the world.