Activities and barriers to education for elderly people Jens Friebe and Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha Summary:
Summary: Adult education at higher age can play an important role in the preservation of autonomy and in the encouragement of social participation in later life. Hence, from both an individual and societal perspective, it is important to promote the educational activities of the elderly. Active elderly people with positive perceptions of self and ageing maintain their mental and physical fitness levels, participate in community associations and politics, and engage in intergenerational dialogue. Data from a recent study clearly show the interrelationship of individual self-perception and the perception of ageing and point to the relevance of both concepts for learning and participating in educational activities. As people age, they participate less and less in further education. This is due not only to individual learning habits, but also to the lack of learning opportunities in different regions and residential areas. In districts that are primarily comprised of people with low standards of living and low education and/or migration backgrounds, there is a lack of sufficient educational structures, which hinders participation in adult education programs. Qualitative interviews with older adults in different districts show that social environment, social embeddedness, and individual perspectives of one’s own learning abilities affect learning possibilities and learning readiness.