Remarkable group of bachelor students participates in the ‘Zorgen voor Later’ course

Aging suits

Today is a day like any other. We are getting ready for education in the bachelor course ‘Zorgen voor Later’ (preparing for later). But this student population is different: their vision is impaired, their hearing has been affected, they suffer from painful joints, and they have less muscular strength. The students seem to have the same complaints as elderly people who retired quite a long time ago. What is wrong with our 20-year-old students who were so vigorous only last week?  

Fortunately, it is nothing serious. Our students wore so-called ‘ageing suits’, which means 17 kilos of extra weight, stiff joints, macular degeneration (vision is getting more and more blurred) and poor hearing. Not only climbing stairs, running and shopping, but also making sandwiches, writing and getting dressed appeared not to be that easy. It led to many hilarious moments, but it also gave them more insight and understanding for the elderly.

Growing lonely suddenly became very obvious, and many students preferred the lift to the staircase to prevent falling. Although much has been written about vulnerability and we have spoken a lot during the lectures about the problems you face when you are getting older, it is not the same as experiencing this yourself. By feeling what it is like to be old, students know what elderly people are struggling with. Hopefully, this experience contributes to Zorgen voor Later.

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This blog was written by prof. dr. Anna Nieboer, Sanne Kuipers and dr. Jane Murray Cramm.