Demographic Change and the Education of Older Adults
First Conference of the ESREA Network on Education and Learning of Older Adults (ELOA)
7th-9th October 2010, Munich, Germany
One of the most important challenges facing industrial nations is how to deal with the effects of demographic change and an ever increasing older population. Birth rates are sinking permanently and the parallel steady increase in life-expectancy are leading toward a society with a rising proportion of older people and an ever decreasing proportion of younger people. These demographic trends actually stimulate adult education in two ways: the first is the potential for innovation in reception and support for the increasing number of older workers; and the second is that educational training programs can and have to contribute to staying healthy and independent up until very old age in order to prevent the over-burdening of the system. How this can be realized with the help of educational programming will be the main topic of the network conference. In order to achieve this, it is important to keep in mind the needs older people have as learners, go along with their educational interests and behaviour.
When we talk about older adults here, we focus people in the second half of their working life up to the highly aged people more than 80 years old. This broad definition of older adults leads to a wide range of topics and perspectives focusing on the working and learning conditions of older workers as much as on gerontological aspects of learning in old age.