• Barry Golding
  • Helen Kimberley
Part of the Lifelong Learning Book Series book series (LLLB, volume 22)


In the later years of life in Australia, after commitment to paid work or family responsibilities declines as life's primary motivating factors, learning occupies a different life space and purpose from learning in previous life stages. While learning to cope with the expected and unexpected events in later life is known from research elsewhere to be increasingly important, the opportunities and places in Australia to learn formally and informally have been decreasing. Our chapter argues that spaces for and purposes of older adult learning are less reflected upon, both by older adults themselves, by the wider Australian society and particularly by policy makers and governments in Australia. We identify a prevailing discourse that is more about costs of caring than opportunities during ageing. Our chapter is premised on positive findings of research that show that the subjective wellbeing of adults depends not so much on their health as on a range of contextual and social factors, among which social engagement plays an important role in Australia. Our fundamental conclusion is that learning and social engagement can be mutually reinforcing at any age, and that health and wellbeing are positive outcomes of both.


Australia Adults Learning Well-being Community 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education and ArtsFederation University AustraliaBallaratAustralia
  2. 2.Research and Policy CentreBrotherhood of St LaurenceMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Social and Political ScienceUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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