Das Bild zeigt eine Gruppe älterer Menschen

Project "Silver Learners" - Kick-off Event in Iserlohn, 19 to 21 October 2016

Representatives of all the european project partners met at the Adult Education Centre (Volkshochschule - VHS) in Iserlohn between 19 and 21 October 2016 to attend the kick-off meeting of the “Silver Learners” project and exchange information and ideas for developing the project.

The conference started with an excursion to the German Gerontology Association (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gerontotechnik - GGT) on 19 October. The GGT has been located in Iserlohn since 1993 and is a highly competent partner to industry, commerce and trade in the generation 50+ growth market.

At their clearly arranged, user-friendly exhibition centre, the GGT presents an extensive range of products and services focusing on the fields of everyday aids and care, kitchen and household, bathroom, electronics and household appliances, mobility, as well as safety and communication.

On 1,200 m² of floor space interested parties and professionals can obtain information on more than 1,000 products from 100 manufacturers and also try out their functions.

The project partners gained a comprehensive overview of what the GGT offers. The highlight was a visit to the GGT show house where it was possible to try out various electronic support systems in practice.

On 20 October a convention for the purpose of presenting and implementing the project was held on the premises of the VHS.

To accomplish this, an all-day workshop was conducted with the project partners. In the morning, we were joined by VHS teachers and lecturers who teach senior citizens or who wanted to know more about this topic.

Following welcoming words by the head of the VHS, Rainer Danne, and department leader Frank Finkeldei, Lieselotte Berthold gave a talk on the subject of:

"How do volunteers learn in Iserlohn?"

After that, the content and objectives of the project were presented. This was followed by a presentation of the individual educational facilities of the project partners from the participating countries: Hungary, Poland, Great Britain, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

In the afternoon, concrete plans for the project were discussed in the project steering group. The topics at the workshop included:

Project management and organisation, project structure and time schedule, budget and financing, as well as communication and reporting. The main focus was on the formation of transnational work groups from all the participating project partners whose job will be to prepare, implement and assess the following workshops during the project period up to 2018:

  • Competences and learning skills of elderly people and the resulting requirements on educational opportunities. What basic gerontological principles are available?

  • Communication in educational institutions: How can we reach the target group - in particular those who really have less access to education? And how can we improve elderly people’s ability to communicate?

  • Further education for daily use: How can we support the older generation in their everyday lives influenced by the media?

  • Further education involving health: How can health be maintained? And how can the elderly cope with new technical auxiliaries, taking into consideration typical illnesses in old age, such as dementia?

To conclude, a press conference was held to which representatives of the local media in Iserlohn were invited. A report was published in the local newspaper the following day. 

The workshop day on 21 October was intended to make the participants more familiar with Iserlohn. It also provided further insights into the social-cultural structure in a medium-sized town in North Rhine-Westphalia against the background of demographic change. 

To illustrate this, a city guide took the attending project partners on an informative tour of Iserlohn and explained the historical development of the town to them.
The historical accounts were supplemented by a presentation of the social-cultural environments in Iserlohn.