Barbara Borges is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Education; research assistant at the Centre on Aging; and she co-teaches the Social Aspects of Aging course, all at the University of Manitoba-Winnipeg (Canada). Her PhD research focus is a comparative study between Brazil and Canada on educational programs for older adults, specifically, the importance of these programs in the quality of life, healthy living and well-being of the older adult participants. She has a Master’s degree in Education from the Universidade Catolica Dom Bosco(2012) -Campo Grande (MS), with the thesis titled: “Teaching: A look at the older adults”, in which she sought to know about professional training and the construction of related teaching knowledge of educators when teaching older adults.
Promoting Healthy Living and Well-Being for Older Adults Through Education, as well as Combating Ageism.
With the emerging demographic shift in our aging population in the mid-twentieth century, humanity is facing a marked change in the age structure of our global population. Currently there are more than 600 million people over 60 years of age in the world (WHO, 2010), and it is anticipated that this number will increase to two billion by 2050 (United Nations, 2013). Advances in medicine, new technologies, as well as social and economic development have increased longevity, but longevity is not everything; we must think about the importance of living longer with a good quality of life. Older adults’ health and well-being will have more of an impact for all generations overtime. The challenge is to consider how to increase the quality of life, years and independence for an individual while combatting ageism.
This ethnographic study explores how older adults in Canada and Brazil perceive education that has been designed specifically for them and how they understand it to be linked to healthy living and well-being. The purpose of this study was: a) to learn more about and be better able to describe the overall impact of education in the lives of older adults; b) to better understand what older adults imagine the future potential impact of education is for them, including the concepts of healthy living and well-being; and c) to delineate recommendations for curriculum development, as well as broader institutional and policy-related strategies, to expand and develop the state of education for older adults focusing on healthy living and well-being.
Findings of this research study show the important role educational programs for older adults play in providing older adults with the opportunity to continue to participate actively in society, improving older adults’ overall health and well-being, and combatting ageism. Governments need to more seriously consider how making education available to a wide range of older adults is a source of health promotion, promoting older adults’ health and well-being. The following key policy recommendations are based on the findings of this study: a) support for ongoing educational opportunities for older adults that reflect a suitable location along with appropriate infrastructure; b) classes that offer a range of topics and activities, valuable both for the diversity of gender, language and cultural backgrounds in related countries, in a way that combats ageism; c) awareness of the importance of health promotion needs to be highlighted in documents, curriculum, materials and financial support.