13 de Diciembre de 2018
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La Educación
Número: (114) I
Año: 1993

Preliminary Conclusions

Thus, it is up to all of us to recognize the personal dignity that old age implies as a stage in life and to help older people feel useful, active, independent and involved. This is a responsibility and commitment of a global social community policy. It also basically implies the need for independent development throughout life, which in turn means that: a) All people, regardless of their age, must share responsibility for the activities that will help elderly people attain fulfillment; b) Elderly people themselves must thoughtfully and deliberately take on the specific function that is theirs to perform.

The above considerations beg the question: What is the challenge to society? What role should education play? Orchestrate not only the courses and resources of research but complete, comprehensive preparation of social and educational programs that would help overcome unfounded myths and stereotypes and build a new social image of old age as another stage in human development with its own characteristics and significance.

The findings of gerontological research in recent years, whether in psychology, medicine, psychiatry or sociology, have shown that it is a myth that the decline or deterioration in the so-called “elderly” is necessary, general (affecting all faculties) and universal (affecting all people in the same way). Aging requires a process of intellectual, social, and emotional adaptation. People must therefore become aware of the importance of grasping the multidimensional structure of the factors involved in the process, which manifest themselves differently within and among individuals.

The final proposal will be based on a twofold perspective. From a social perspective: it will target the establishment of a “special space” for senior citizens based on social recognition of their interests, needs and expectations. This presupposes a change of attitude to this stage in life, which in turn implies a comprehensive educational process, that is, one targeting all people at all ages in both formal and informal education. From a personal perspective: it will seek to place a higher value on old age as a stage in life with its own significance and worth, and to teach that all individuals must prepare themselves to experience it according to the possibilities it offers as a stage in human development. This also implies an educational process before, during, and within this stage, which would again raise the issue of adult education and modify certain aspects of the overall education system in our country.

Raising the possibility and conditions of learning for the over-sixties, on the basis of anthropological, axiological, and psychological theories, suggests as its point of departure the concept of the functional age of the person, in the sense of his or her level of behavioral competence. An educational proposal must be prepared which, based on anthropological, axiological and psychological foundations, integrates the personal and social dimensions of aging, and justifies the adoption of certain policies and methodological guidelines to respond rigorously to the needs, interests and expectations stemming from the aging of the population.