Free toolkit ‘Grow older with pleasure!’

About 24 to 40 million older Europeans have difficulty reading and understanding texts. This often leads to lower digital skills, stress, uncertainty, and health problems. For this reason, we have developed a playful and interactive healthy lifestyle course to support people with low literacy. The toolkit and the accompanying mini-training for professionals and volunteers who want to organize the course is now available.

Learning through play
Growing older with pleasure! is designed as an eight-week course, consisting of weekly two-hour meetings. During these meetings, participants learn in an accessible way, using interactive game cards, about topics that matter to them: the aging body, nutrition, well-being, digital skills and being heard. The course was developed according to the principles of meaningful play and collaborative learning. In the first case, learning skills through play is central, with the aim of gaining knowledge and ideas in a fun and enjoyable way. This approach has a positive effect on memory and recognition, motor skills, self-confidence, and social well-being. Collaborative learning focuses on group-oriented learning, active learning through involvement and strengthening social relationships, in the context of everyday life.

“Low-literate older people have often had to deal with disappointing learning processes. They have lost motivation along the way. It is important to get to what they do find important. There are too few projects that respond to this.’” – Jolanda Lindenberg, researcher Leyden Academy

Positive reactions
The interactive course has already been tested in various European places. A total of 200 participants took part in the pilots, ranging in age from 53 to almost 100 years. Some participants indicated that they felt less pressure and found it easier to share and try things out. The pilot was also a promising experience for the trainers involved. “People quickly come up with solutions by consulting with each other and sharing their experiences.” says Rita Castela of AI9.PT from Portugal.

“You have a lot to deal with as an older person. During the course I learned to tackle issues spiritually, mentally, and physically. I especially loved the game element. There was also a disadvantage: the course is too short.” – Anita, participant

Free teaching materials
Grow older with pleasure! is a collaboration between Leyden Academy, Stichting Lezen en Schrijven, University of Copenhagen, University of Coimbra and AI9.PT, and is supported by Erasmus+ (a European Union program). The free toolkit can be downloaded from the LOLit website. In addition to the course material, you will also find a step-by-step mini training for healthcare professionals who want to apply the course in their organization.

“The special thing about this project is that people get the feeling that they belong, that they feel part of society, that is moving to hear.” – Peter van Deursen, adult education Erasmus+