DCU to launch ‘age-friendly’ university initiative today

9 Nov 2012

Dublin City University (DCU) is preparing to launch a new initiative today to get older adults more involved in academic programmes at the university, including those around education and research and innovation, plus online courses.

Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD, will be at DCU this morning to launch the initiative, which DCU’s president Prof Brian MacCraith is claiming is the first of a kind to show the role universities can play in responding to the challenges of ageing populations.

DCU said some of its partner higher education institutions, such as Dundalk Institute of Technology, Arizona State University and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, have also expressed an interest in its ‘age-friendly’ programme.

A working group at DCU came up with the initiative after it set out to identify how higher education institutions can use their resources to address the needs of older adults.

As part of its new activities, DCU will be creating intergenerational learning programmes to encourage current students and older adults to learn together. It will also be creating flexible programmes, some of which will be offered online.

DCU is also planning to introduce new research programmes to focus on issues of ageing, including an EU project on dementia. It will also have fitness, health and wellness programmes around heart health and diabetes.

For adults who wish to embark on career changes in later life, DCU is also planning to introduce second career programmes, including a focus on entrepreneurial opportunities.

The university is also set to engage with organisations that represent the interests of ageing populations to ensure its research and education agenda is more informed by the needs of an ageing society.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic