Lifelong learning

Young and old make a winning combination

Two Australian programs involving high school students making positive changes to the lives of seniors have won international awards in the past week.

The first involved Year 10 students of Adelaide’s Rostrevor College, who last year visited residents of nearby Allity Walkerville Aged Care to record their memoirs.

Through Write of Passage, the students captured the life experiences of the residents they were paired with and created a book of the memories they shared over a 10-week period.

Personal connections help learning online

Seniors were more likely to learn digital skills if they could relate them to their own stories and interests, a new report has shown.

Researchers at Melbourne’s Swinburne University found many older people felt left out of the digital age, putting them at risk of social isolation as well as reduced participation in essential services such as welfare and health.

But many older Australians were frustrated by technological change and learning the fundamentals of going online.

Update your online skills

Would you like to update your computer skills? Do you have friends or family members who could benefit from a little extra technical know-how?

Two days of practical, hands-on Internet training in Brisbane next month may be just what is needed to help connect confidently with people via email and on social media, pay bills online or discover a whole world of knowledge with a few key strokes.

Australians rely on ‘a little help from their friends’

A new report from National Seniors Australia has shown that when it comes to getting good advice in the ‘information age’, older people favour humans over going online.

The report, released this week, shows that while digital technology has revolutionised information delivery, older people making important decisions about retirement first turn to trusted health and financial professionals or family and friends.

Women outpace men in attaining higher qualifications

New figures show more Australians are attaining non-school qualifications and the number of women is growing at a faster rate than men.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said nearly two thirds of Australians aged between 20 and 64 now held a non-school qualification and since 2004, the proportion had risen from 56 per cent to 66 per cent.

The ABS’ Stephen Collett said the higher level of qualifications was also significant.

Gap year for seniors

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt has floated the idea of seniors taking a ‘gap year’ in the lead-up to retirement.

He told the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday that there were more than six million Australians aged between 50 and 75 and many may want to transition to retirement through the seniors’ equivalent of the teenagers’ rite of passage ‘gap year’.

“This may involve part-time employment, changing careers, volunteer work or a combination of both,” Mr Wyatt said.

He said he was yet to consult cabinet on the issue.

U3A Online the first of its kind

If you like to study or to meet people with similar interests but cannot attend classes or meetings, the University of the Third Age (U3A) Online may be just what you are looking for.

Starting in Australia in 1998, U3A Online is an acknowledgement that although it is better to meet like-minded people face-to-face, some are isolated through distance, or through physical or social circumstances.

U3A Online President and National Seniors’ member Jean Walker said the online university was the first of its kind where all courses were conducted online.

Jobless seniors to get government help to retrain

Older unemployed Australians living in five regional and urban areas will be able to access government help to retrain from the middle of 2018.

Federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the Career Transition Assistance Program would be trialled from July 2018 in Ballarat in Victoria, Somerset in Queensland, the NSW Central West, south Adelaide and north Perth.

Job seekers aged over 50 would be able to complete a short, intensive course that assessed their skills, looked at what jobs might suit them, and learn new techniques for searching for work.

Free courses to help understand and prevent dementia

Free online university courses are available to help understand and perhaps even prevent dementia.

The University of Tasmania's Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) build on the latest in international research on dementia.

No exams or assignments are required, but course participants are advised they need to set aside at least three hours a week for engagement and activities in the nine-week course.

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