This chapter studies the conditions that define seniors in Europe as disadvantaged.
Although the term “disadvantaged” is case-specific (referring to those in a disadvantaged,
needy or deprived state or position) it is necessary to approach it within
a specific context (such as social, economic, cultural, educational or medical). In
general terms it refers to a particular group of people with inadequate learning
resources due to limited or restricted access to learning provision, people who are
unemployed, education dropouts or non-participants in learning such as migrants,
unskilled or low skilled seniors, people with disabilities (mental or physical), those
who have taken early retirement and third-age learners (50+). The main argument of
the chapter with regard to disadvantaged seniors in Europe is that their drawback
is highly related to the inability to access education and learning because they are
either not informed or unaware of educational opportunities, or because existing
educational opportunities are not appropriate to this particular group of people.
Furthermore, seniors may be unable to participate in learning because they do not
consider it as important or because they think it is irrelevant to their development.
Reflecting on existing theory and relevant research evidence, the chapter concludes
that it is of critical importance in addressing these conditions to assess how
disadvantaged seniors may be enabled or empowered towards self-directed learning
in order to make their way in and actively take part in a productive way of life.