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"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."

—Henry Ford


By the end of this chapter, readers will be able to:

  1. Describe the age-related factors that influence learning in older adults.

  2. Identify key principles to consider when engaging older adults in learning.

  3. Distinguish the different types of memory and learning.

  4. Identify effective strategies for facilitating learning in older adults.

  5. Develop effective educational materials for older adults.

  6. Differentiate among formal, informal, and nonformal learning.

  7. List the reasons an older adult may engage in learning.

  8. Summarize the benefits of learning for older adults.

  9. Describe the connection(s) between education, learning, older adult health, and health literacy.

  10. List the key documentation elements that should be included in the health record.

Clinical Vignette 1

Ms. Samantha Denning, age 83, and Mr. Bruno Gatto, age 72, are the co-presidents of a local Seniors Council. Ms. Denning and Mr. Gatto have contacted Patrick and Kim Cuc, an occupational therapist and physical therapist who co-own a private practice. Ms. Denning and Mr. Gatto would like to provide a 2-hour "Age-wise, Health-wise" educational session for older adults living the community and have asked Patrick and Kim Cuc to develop and present the session. The older adults comprise a diverse group in terms of socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, and functioning.

  1. What type of learning is the example in the clinical vignette? Why might an older adult attend the session?

  2. What might Patrick and Kim Cuc do to ensure learning is maximized during the session? Are there any learning-environment factors that need to be taken into consideration as Patrick and Kim Cuc plan the session?

  3. Are there any sociocultural factors that may influence the teaching and learning process?

Clinical Vignette 2

Mr. Francisco de Ruiz is a 71-year-old man who recently had a left total hip replacement (THR) and is to be discharged home. Mr. de Ruiz and his wife, Rita (age 83), moved from Central America 20 years ago, after their only son Roberto died in a car accident. The de Ruiz's are fluent in Spanish, and English is their second language. Mr. and Mrs. de Ruiz live in a small bungalow. Before Mr. de Ruiz's THR, both Mr. and Mrs. de Ruiz were independent in all activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental ADL, were driving, participated in an aquatics exercise class 4 days per week, and were active in their church and with the local immigrant welcome center.

Sarah Redkin, physical therapist, and Scott Mussaid, occupational therapist, are planning a cotreatment session to teach the de Ruiz's car transfers and post-THR precautions during a variety of activities.

  1. What are some considerations for skills learning that Sarah and Scott keep in mind?

  2. Are there any strategies that Sarah and Scott can implement ...

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