Older Lifelong Learners bring Mental Capital to Society

Ena O’Mahoney, Vice-President of the Irish Senior Citizen’s Parliament spoke yesterday at the seminar, ‘Enriching the College Community with Older Lifelong Learners’ in Trinity College. She told her audience of the wealth of ‘mental capital’ accrued by older people in this country and how, if utilised, it could benefit the whole of society.

The seminar highlighted the fact that education is a lifelong activity and showed that older learners attending college are as committed to learning as their younger colleagues

Ms O’Mahoney particularly stressed the role that lifelong learning can play in combating social exclusion and loneliness, pointing out that for those who pursued further education as older students:

There is the chance to enjoy a new sense of community with people who share their interests and passions, providing opportunities for socialising and progression routes to whole new worlds of experience, effectively counteracting what can be a period in life when social contacts decline.

The ISCP warmly welcomes this initiative taken by Trinity College.

The Parliament also welcomes the presence of Minister for State, Seán Haugheyat the seminar as a demonstration of the government’s support to the commitments made in the Social Partnership Agreement, Towards 2016, to maximise adult and community educational opportunities for older people. In particular the Parliament agreed with his statement that ‘Education should also be a means of ensuring greater social contact, exchange of ideas and mutual respect between the generations.’

TCD Vice-Provost/ Chief Academic Officer Prof Patrick Prendergast; Vice President of Irish Senior Citizens Parliament Ena O’Mahoney; Age Action Ireland representative Senator David Norris; Psychology Student Philip Martin Murray; Minister of State with Responsibility for Lifelong Learning Sean Haughey; Lecturer in Adult Nursing Jacinta Kelly and event organiser Jennifer Ryan.