Literacy proficiency of older adults
International Journal of Educational Research Volume 39, Number 3, ISSN 0883-0355 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
As a supplement to the International Adult Literacy Survey, the Netherlands devoted special attention to the literacy proficiency of older adults. A close look at the literacy skills of older adults and their use in daily life is relevant because demographic developments, individualisation, the position of older employees in the labour market and technological innovations require an increasing level of literacy skills. Accordingly, this chapter compares the literacy skills of older adults with other age groups, and presents an analysis of the determinants of literacy proficiency of older adults. In addition, results from follow-up interviews conducted with 40 older adults who had low proficiency scores in the Netherlands are presented. This includes (a) the kind of problems they experience in daily life, (b) the kind of coping strategies they develop, and (c) their attitude towards educational interventions. The results show that the literacy proficiency of older adults gives reasons for concern. They score significantly lower than other age groups. However, many older adults develop practical coping strategies, such as using social networks, assertiveness in asking for help, etc. Yet, some of the coping strategies are vulnerable because of societal changes such as rationalisation in industry and public services.
van der Kamp, M. & Boudard, E. (2003). Literacy proficiency of older adults. International Journal of Educational Research, 39(3), 253-263. Elsevier Ltd.