Nancy Christie is the Chair of the Third Age Network (TAN) in Ontario, a network of organizations that offer scholarly learning opportunities for older adults. TAN has 28 diverse member organizations in Ontario, managed by and for seniors, each of which provide intellectually challenging programs and social involvement for retired people.
A co-founder of TAN, Nancy began her involvement with Third Age learning at the Living and Learning in Retirement (LLIR) program based at Glendon College (York University). She chaired that association and has helped start several new Third Age learning organizations in Ontario. A co-founder of TAN, Nancy has led the organization through its first 10 years. An active promoter of life long learning with a focus on the Third Age, she has been deeply involved in the development of TAN as a network which supports and initiates intellectually stimulating opportunities for Ontario older adults.
Prior to her retirement, Nancy was an Association Executive (NFP) for over 25 years working nationally and internationally in the disability field. She has organized and presented at conferences and workshops locally and globally. In addition to being an international volunteer, she has chaired various local organizations, including some related to environmental issues and community development.
Third Age Learning: A Cognitive Approach to Healthy Ageing
Sandra Kerr is the Director of Programs for the 50 Plus and Community Engagement in the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario.
Sandra has been invited to speak throughout Canada , North and South America, and the United Kingdom on later life learning. She has been in leadership roles on TALIS, (Third Age Learning International Studies )-an international organization supporting third age learning , CATALIST (Canadian Association of Third Age Learning Institutes) and currently is a co-founder and leader in the Third Age Network in Ontario. Sandra was on the board of Routes to Learning Canada and also sits on the Toronto Long Term Care Homes and Services Advisory Committee.
Under Sandra’s leadership, educational opportunities for older adults at Ryerson University has expanded into a wide variety of offerings and partnerships which include traditional liberal arts courses, such innovative programming as a theatre and drama centre, film and media studies, music, intergenerational mentoring, health and wellness programs, recareering and redefining retirement workshops, and an arts festival celebrating connection, engagement and learning that challenges the stereotypes of aging.
A Cognitive Approach to Healthy Ageing
The workshop will discuss how Third Age learning programs can support improved cognitive health and increased socialization for senior participants and demonstrate how to create such programs.
Globally, there are several program models of Third Age learning: institution or community based; organized by paid staff or operated by participants. In the TAN (Third Age Network, Ontario, Canada) model of Third Age learning, the over-riding principle is that the Third Agers (senior volunteers) are the planners, organizers, and managers of the learning events. This principle is as important a learning opportunity as the traditional educational component of the activity.
The workshop will discuss the different models, as well as alternative formats. The steps in creating a community based model and the organization to support it will be outlined. Ways of finding the human, knowledge and financial resources required for creating your chosen model(s) will be discussed as well exploring additional opportunities for socializing.
The TAN model of Third Age learning involves active engagement of the organizers as well as participants. This dynamic component offers further opportunities for learning and socializing, both of which are essential in keeping seniors healthy and independent… a benefit both to society and to the Third Agers themselves. The workshop will demonstrate – through the participation of active senior leaders – just how this strategy works to meet the aspirations, potential and needs of the burgeoning populations of senior members of our societies.
Two presenters will provide an overall picture of Third Age learning and how it can impact on the cognitive health of seniors in the community. The introduction will discuss two means of delivering programs: through an institution or through the community. We will then examine how the operations and results of the two methods differ. Next, how to progress from the idea to creating such a program will be outlined using examples of actual programs now operating. Following this, three program models will be examined – lecture, peer learning and webinars- with participants experienced in each model outlining the strategies for ensuring content and participation, the management and operation of each model, and some of the challenges that groups face. Dialogue will be invited following each step in the presentation to explore and expand on the information presented.
Participants will be guided to
– understand how Third Age learning supports cognitive health
– be able to assess whether one model offers better opportunities for socialization than another
– understand what an institutional model of Third Age learning is
– understand what a community based model of Third Age learning is
– understand why and how a participant managed model adds to the cognitive benefits available to those who become involved
– explore the steps in creating a community based model, including a supporting organization
– explore ways of finding the human, knowledge, and financial resources for creating their chosen model
– understand the basic budgeting required to initiate a community based Third Age learning program
– understand the pros and cons of different models: peer learning, lecture format and web-based learning
– understand that some groups offer more than one model of learning within their programs depending on the interests of participants
– consider how each model supports socialization
– consider ways of expanding social opportunities in all models
Skills Delegates will be able to take away
– the ability to plan and create a community based Third Age learning program including choosing a suitable format, budgeting, identifying resources, advertising, and promotion.
– the knowledge of how to expand an existing program to promote socialization and integration of participants.