Ian Searle, national chairman of the volunteer-run University of the Third Age (U3A) has announced that U3A will soon offer courses in care homes. More than 300 subjects – from languages to photography – will be taught online or in classes held at homes; the choice will be based on surveys of local demand.
Interviewed in “Mature Times”, Searle says: “We know that learning benefits the frail elderly. It’s been shown that care homes which provide learning opportunities need fewer sleeping pills.”
He goes on: “Without learning opportunities, care homes can become places where society ‘parks’ the frail and elderly while they await death. Residents can become over-medicated and under-stimulated. We want to see an end to the practice of lining residents up in front of the TV all day.”
U3A uses a “learning for pleasure” approach, meaning no accreditation, assessments or qualifications.
The initiative has been welcomed by Fiona Aldridge, head of research at the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education.
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Mature Times: www.maturetimes.co.uk
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education: http://www.niace.org.uk/