Intervention Research On Health Literacy among Ageing population”

Health literacy has turned out to be a key component in preserving independence and health in old age. In this European project more than 20 partners pursue the goal of addressing those health literacy needs in older people and professionals working with them. IROHLA focuses on improving health literacy for the ageing population in Europe by improving competencies and empowerment of older adults and providing innovative tools for services. It aims to identify promising health literacy programs and projects. Knowledge and experience of programs in other sectors (e.g. private and social sectors) will be applied to the health sector. Systematic searches, interviews and an online survey are conducted to find best-practice interventions and projects.

Health psychologist Professor Dr. Sonia Lippke and her team were searching for social programs which do not only equip the elderly with new knowledge or new skills but also teach them how to change behaviors or even set off social political changes. Almost 600 experts were invited to participate in a survey on promising programs and we received responses from 265 people. On 76 interventions further information was provided. We were able to identify interventions from Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the United States. To name only two promising examples:


AGES 2.0

Social isolation is a growing problem among the older population but social media can be a way out of this. AGES 2.0 offers a creative solution to foster social participation in elderly residential and community-based care residents.

The project focuses on Activating and Guiding the Engagement of Seniors through social media (AGES) and is an experiment aimed at testing the efficiency of an Internet and social networks (i.e. 2.0) training program. Two countries are involved in the project, Italy and the UK.

The objective of this project is to determine how social media can be used more successfully to facilitate social inclusion and to establish the effect of such participation on personal identity, cognitive ability and well-being. Computer literacy combined with social competence can be the key to success in the matter of social inclusion – it will be exciting to follow the progress of the project.

Have a look at the AGES 2.0 website for further information:



Did you know that one in six people have literacy difficulties in Ireland? The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) took this challenge as an inspiration to improve the well-being of older adults. NALA’s aim is to improve the literacy and numeracy difficulties in the Irish population. Thus, the main goal of the project is to encourage them to fully take part in the society and pursue learning to meet their daily needs.

Usually, older adults feel discouraged to study at their age. Through literacy campaigns, NALA encourages those older adults to return to education by calling the NALA freephone support line. Independently from their social and economic background, older adults have the opportunity to actively learn in long distance courses provided by NALA. A lot of people have also reached this freephone support line in order to help as tutors. Currently, there are a total of 4,000 volunteers helping in the adult literacy courses. Do you want to know more about how to help or be helped? If so, you will enjoy visiting the NALA website:

In addition, NALA also targets the government. It is fundamental to reach the government policies in order to make large achievements. That is why NALA is also involved in research, to provide evidence to the policy makers and politicians of the best approaches to deal with literacy and life skills.


Other projects can be found on the IROHLA website: 029

The project evaluates existing initiatives in different sectors. In the end we will present a set of 20 interventions, which together constitute a comprehensive approach for addressing health literacy needs of the ageing population in Europe. Evidence-based guidelines for policy and practice for local, regional and national government authorities to start action will be derived from the results.

The project involves representatives of the ageing population, academia, all levels of governments, the business community and other stakeholders to ensure the feasibility, usefulness and effectiveness of the selected interventions.

Funding is provided by the European Commission within the FP 7 framework. The kick off meeting took place in December 2012 in Groningen. The project will run until 2015 with eight different work packages of which one is led by Jacobs University Bremen. Moreover, Sonia Lippke is involved in three further work packages and member of the Executive Board of IROHLA. The project manager is Juliane Paech, heavily involved in different activities in WP 5 and 6.

See also:

You can subscribe to the IROHLA newsletter to follow the workflow in the project itself and related initiatives:

Further information can be found here:

Berlin_Bremen_OktEnd 141