About the project

Population ageing is a long-term trend, which began several decades ago in the EU. As a result, the EU will, in the coming decades, face a number of challenges associated with an ageing society, which will have an impact on a wide range of areas (labour markets, pensions, provisions for health care etc.). Population change and the structure of the population are gaining importance in the political, economic, social and cultural context of demographic behaviour. One of the fields that is, and will be even more affected by the population ageing in the upcoming years, is the health care system, and that is why it is necessary (for the long term stability of the health care system) that people have the best possible chance to remain healthy, and stay active and independent as they become older. One of the crucial roles in this effort will be assigned to nurses and that is why it is important to raise awareness among them and among the students of nursing, as they represent the future of this profession.

Based on these facts, a partnership of four higher educational institutions was formed. The participating institutions are:

 - The College of Nursing in Celje, Slovenia (coordinating organisation);

- Medical University of Lublin, Poland;

- University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Health Sciences, Finland and

- Cooperativa de La Superior Politecnico e Universitário – CESPU, Portugal

These institutions have set a goal to contribute to the development of this field, and through different project activities try to make a difference and raise awareness of the importance of aging well and staying active as we get older. With this goal in mind, our partnership successfully applied for the Erasmus+ tender, Key Action 2: Strategic Partnerships in Higher Education and implemented the project Healthy Lifestyle for Aging Well (HLAW).

HLAW is an innovative project, through which we have aimed to:

- Additionally educate, engage, activate and raise awareness among students of nursing in the field of healthy lifestyle of the elderly and active ageing.

- Contribute to the raised awareness among the elderly and increase their health literacy in order to improve their quality of life as well as their health.

- Help the elderly function as active members of the society, and help them stay active in the society as long as possible.

This project offers an international and interdisciplinary (nursing, medicine, sociology, psychology, physiotherapy, social gerontology and occupational therapy) approach in highlighting the importance of healthy lifestyle for aging well.

The two main target groups, which were included in the project activities, were the nursing students and the elderly. In addition to these two, the project also addressed higher education teachers and researchers, and other interested parties who wished to obtain and share knowledge, ideas, practical experience and examples of good practice from the areas under consideration among different institutions (especially higher education institutions), and different countries.

In the context of the project, two intensive programmes (summer schools) have been implemented at the College of Nursing in Celje. The first summer school took place from May 25th until June 5th, 2015, and the second one took place from May 23rd until June 3rd, 2016. At the summer schools, we enabled active participation to 36 foreign students and to 22 foreign higher education teachers as well as to 18 students and to 8 higher education teachers of the College of Nursing in Celje. In the framework of the intensive programme the students were able to:

-        gain new expertise, ideas and experiences and share them with the domestic and foreign students and lecturers,

-         participate actively through the implementation of various workshops and do fieldwork,

-        socialize with the elderly and raise their awareness about a healthy lifestyle,

-        strengthen their intercultural competences.

An important part of the project consisted of various research activities, which enabled the students to critically and analytically research the field with the help of higher education teachers and to compare and share the knowledge, ideas, and examples of good practices with the participants and participating countries. 

In the first phase of the research activities, we focused on literature review of health literacy and physical activity of the elderly in the participating countries. We also conducted review of the current situation and tried to find some examples of good practices in this field. With this phase we set theoretical foundations for the next phase of the research activities which was conducted simultaneously in all four participating countries from October 2015 until June 2016.

The main results of the project were/are:

-     A new Web portal, which is devoted to the health literacy of the elderly in all the languages of the participating countries;

-    5 new optional study subjects,

-        Recommendations for further work in the field of healthy lifestyle of the elderly,

-        Guidelines for ethical conduct in care for the elderly,

-        Guidelines for the development of new programmes for the healthy lifestyle of the elderly

-        DVD with footage of physical exercises (with instructions and recommendations) in all languages of the participating countries as well as in English,

-    A brochure, in which all the main results of the project, recommendations and guidelines are collected.

Besides that, the project also contributed to:

-         increased healthy lifestyle literacy of the elderly

-         a raised awareness of this thematic filed,

-         strengthening partnership between partner institutions,

-         greater quality of teaching and learning,

-         greater international mobility of students and lecturers.