In Europe alone, 80 million individuals have low literacy (lack of basic skills), and among those aged 55+ the percentage of low literates is highest. In The Netherlands, there are about 2.5 million adults with low literacy skills, including approximately 700.000 people over 65 years old. These individuals are at higher risk of adverse health outcomes due to a magniﬁcation of disadvantage such as lower social economic status, diﬃculty accessing and interpreting information, limited access to (e-)health solutions, and so on. Many have diﬃculty adhering to a healthy lifestyle, and have negative learning experiences leading to low conﬁdence and disengagement from learning activities.
Low literacy at play
In association with European partners, we coordinate the project Low literacy at play (LOLit). In this project, together with low literate over-50s we are developing the training ‘Healthy ageing through play!‘ based on the principle of ‘meaningful play’. A total of eight social gatherings have been developed, aiming to strengthen knowledge (about good and healthy aging) and skills (such as reading, writing and basic digital skills) in a meaningful and pleasant way. We also focus on ‘peer coaching’ (participants coaching each other) aimed at (online) basic, social and health skills.
This project is a collaboration between Leyden Academy, the Reading and Writing Foundation, the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and the University of Coimbra and AI9.pt (Portugal). The program has taken place in the Netherlands in 2022 (in Amsterdam Zuidoost and Amsterdam Noord) for approximately 25 participants and in Copenhagen and Coimbra for 40 participants. A second round of pilots will take place in 2023 in collaboration with local organisations. This project is sponsored by –among others- Erasmus+.