DCU’s ‘innovate role’ in engaging older people in education

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Since 2008, an innovative approach to engaging older adults in university has been building momentum in DCU which became the first third-level institution to adopt the concept and principles of an Age-Friendly University in 2012.

DCU has committed to lead and highlight the role that universities can play in responding to challenges and opportunities associated with the ageing demographic of the 21st century.  The university’s recently-appointed Age Friendly Coordinator will drive the university’s goal to be recognised internationally as a leader of age-friendly initiatives in education, research and innovation which will promote a greater, more connected and productive quality of life for older adults.

It is not unusual to see many older people on campus in DCU. The Intergenerational Learning Project offers a selection of dedicated modules designed with the older learner in mind. This wide range of short, competitively priced courses on offer, delivered by DCU lecturers, provides opportunities to study subjects ranging from psychology to everyday science to genealogy. A unique and innovative approach to technology courses which uses an intergenerational model with the help of volunteer student mentors, has brought more than 600 older adults on campus and engaged 300 DCU students in teaching and volunteering.

Another element to the Age Friendly Initiative is the MedEx (Medical Exercise), a unique chronic illness rehabilitation service which has grown dramatically over the past six years in DCU to become one of the largest centres of its kind in Europe. It delivers exercise-based programmes, with parallel educational and related supports, to individuals with diverse chronic illnesses.  Hosting over 500 visits per week, the MedEx programmes transform the lives of participants and their families.

Whilst over at DCU’s School of Nursing, the Memory Works screening clinic is available to anyone over 40 who feels they are developing memory problems.  The clinic operates on a self-referral or GP referral basis aimed at identifying people with a pathological reason for their memory problems. The service aims to fill a gap in the existing health service.

For more information on courses and further information contact:
Christine O’Kelly, Age Friendly Coordinator, Dublin City University

Tel 01700 8933. Christine.okelly@dcu.ie

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