The changes that take place in the modern world make it difficult, especially for elderly persons, to adapt to the constantly transforming environment. One of the most effective ways to prevent the marginalization of senior persons and enable their active inclusion in the structures of the society of the 21st century is using the lifelong learning opportunities available to "a person of the third age". Lifelong learning is offered by Universities of the Third Age (U3A). In Poland, the first U3A was founded, at the initiative of Professor Halina Szwarc in 1975 at the Centre of Post-Graduate Medical Education (CPGME) in Warsaw, one of its main goals being to include elderly persons in the lifelong learning system. This unit and other universities of the third age that followed, offer space for personal development and socializing and create appropriate conditions for elderly persons to participate in the social life on a regular basis. For more than 40 years, the U3As in Poland have offered programmes that meet the various needs of senior persons, with activities dedicated to broadening their knowledge, education, personal development, developing skills and interests, spending their free time actively and promoting a healthy lifestyle, thus contributing to preventive gerontology and health in the holistic meaning of the term. One of the factors that could affect the structure and implementation of U3A programmes is the evident feminisation of their students. Because of this, educational programmes and other activities offered to U3A students may be selected mainly to suit female interests, reducing the engagement of men to a minimum. Another possible challenge is ensuring the right team of lecturers.
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