CR&DALL Seminar - Can principles of educational gerontology be acquired fully through practice? Results of a senior workers' study within the framework of critical educational gerontology.

School of Education
University of Glasgow
11 Eldon St
G3 6NH
United Kingdom
Tuesday, 31 January, 2023 - 16:00 to 17:00

Seminar Series: 


CR&DALL Seminar - Can principles of educational gerontology be acquired fully through practice?

The Next CR&DALL seminar will be held on 31st January at 1600 in Room 234, St Andrew’s Building, School of Education, University of Glasgow, 11 Eldon St, Glasgow G3 6NH. The presenter will be Dr Tiina Tambaum, Estonian Institute for Population Studies, Tallinn University. All are welcome. Please RSVP to [email protected].

A summary of the research being presented is shown below with more detail in the attachment.

Healthy ageing (WHO, 2015) includes, among other things, learning and development in old age, as well as older people’s social inclusion. In 2021, Tallinn University conducted a quantitative web-based survey to map the experiences, attitudes and knowledge of senior work practitioners in Estonia. Questions were posed on the first, second, third and fourth statements of first principles in educational gerontology (Glendenning & Battersby, 1990; Percy 1990; Formosa 2011; Hachem, 2020). In this seminar we will discuss three of these: Whether marginalized groups are integrated into activities of healthy ageing? What content prevails in senior work: whether everyday important topics and future skills are covered, or the goals are more cultural and entertaining? Do social activities offered by senior work practitioners support the dilution of age stereotypes and combat ageism?

As there is no such profession as a ‘seniors’ worker’ in Estonia, the field of senior work can be explained through practice. Senior work includes activities for older people in the community that supports the upper level of an age-friendly environment (WHO, 2015). It differs from social work which represents a problem-based approach to older people. Senior work as a resource-based approach to older people has been implemented in day centres run by municipalities, libraries, culture houses, community centres, hobby clubs, care homes, and rarely also at schools. Senior work can be paid work or based on voluntary work. The results of the quantitative survey conducted in Estonia among senior workers show who and supports healthy ageing in Estonia, and how. We saw that old-age stereotypes are not challenged in current senior work. One of the results, which is concurrently both expected and surprising, is that half of the respondents (n=425) do not consider professionalism to be important in carrying out activities for older people. At the same time,  senior workers of older themselves, value and expect quality more than middle-aged and younger colleagues.

The results of a study raise the question, as to whether municipalities finance senior work that deepens age segregation and self-discriminative attitudes. The results of this study provide a basis for recommendations to establish quality criteria for senior work and to develop a network and in-service training system for senior workers in Estonia.


Discussion topics: 

CR&DALL Themes: 

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