This qualitative ethnographic study explored how older adults in Brazil and Canada perceive education that has been designed specifically for them and how they understand it to be linked to healthy living and well-being. The purpose of this research was threefold: a) to learn more about and be better able to describe the overall impact of education in the lives of older adults; b) to better understand what older adults imagine the future potential impact of education is for them, including the concepts of healthy living and well-being; and, c) to delineate recommendations for curriculum development as well as broader institutional and policy-related strategies to expand and develop the state of education for older adults with the focus on healthy living and well-being. Four themes emerged from the narratives of the older adult participants, as well as in the narratives of their family members, coordinators and instructors: Fighting Social Isolation, Stimulating Cognitive and Mental State of Well-Being, Fostering Physical Health, and Promoting (Dis)Ageism. The results of this research study show these educational programs for older adults work as a source of health promotion. Once these programs open the door to the opportunities for older adults to learn better strategies to keep their autonomy and independence, as in taking responsibility to make smart health choices such as eating right, being physically active and socializing, the benefits of the educational programs can be reaped.
As a Postdoctoral Fellow, Barbara is currently working on a research related to the quality of life of older adults with dementia in a nursing home in Winnipeg, Canada. This research project examines the effects of the renovation in the facility and grounds on residents, family and staff. In particular, this project examines whether the renovation has its intended impacts on quality of life and quality of care. Barbara's research interest include health promotion for older adults, education for older adults, (dis)ageism, social justice, qualitative methodologies, and Queer theories and aging.