Research on older people and low literacy

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.

In the Netherlands, Leyden Academy researches the experiences, needs and desires of older people with low literacy skills. We also coordinate the European project ‘LOLit: Low Literacy at play’, training citizens with low literacy using the principle of ‘meaningful play’. In an innovative co-created training, we develop six thematic sessions. These blended social gatherings innovatively nudge knowledge and skills (such as basic digital and literacy skills), supported by peer-coaching that aims to increase (e-)health literacy. This project is a cooperation of Leyden Academy, the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and the University of Coimbra (Portugal). The programme will be organised in 2022 in the Netherlands (Leiden and Rotterdam) for approximately 60 attendees, and in Copenhagen and Coimbra for 40 attendees.

The project LOLit: Low Literacy at play is supported by Erasmus+. For more information, please contact Jolanda Lindenberg or Miriam Verhage.