Involving older people in the
education and training of current and
future aged care professionals and carers

Involving older people in the education and training of current and future aged care professionals and carers

What is OPTEACH?

OPTEACH stands for Older People Training Educating Aged Care & Health. It is an approach which involves older people in the education and training of current and future health professionals and carers. OPTEACH is a site full of resources to help you succeed with educating a range of people interested in learning about aging from the experts, older people. The OPTEACH approach is suitable for educating health professionals, volunteers, community groups, older people and carers. Funds for the creation of this site were provided through a grant from NSW Family and Community Services, Liveable Communities Grants.


Who is OPTEACH for?

Firstly, OPTEACH is for older people who are the experts in the ageing process. Secondly, it is for the Educators and Facilitators of education and training for aged care workers (basically anyone who's involved in working with older people - or plans to be some day).

Given the ageing population, the demand for qualified aged care workers is increasing. Organisations and institutions training and educating the current and future workforce are pressured to produce quality people quickly. Recognising this need, OPTEACH is divided into two pathways, one for the Educator or Facilitator of the training, and one for the older person who has been asked to, or is interested in sharing their experience of ageing.

What makes OPTEACH unique?

Many of our health professionals are taught about ageing from lectures and textbooks and using simulation and other educational strategies. Although these are important and effective, we believe that a missing link in ageing education is the involvement of older people themselves!

There is no replacement for hearing peoples' life stories from those with a long and varied experience of life, and having the opportunity to ask questions 'in real time'. It is our hope that, as more people and organisations come to understand the true value of involving older people in education, intergenerational understanding and empathy will increase.


Benefits for Educators

  • Engage learners in ageing
  • Learn from those with the experience
  • Stories are powerful
  • Capture real life experiences and then relate to the theory

Benefits for Aged Care Providers

  • Relate learning to resident needs
  • Update care plans in the learning environment
  • Cost effective and powerful learning
  • Education that immediately changes practice
  • Build a Person-centred culture

Benefits for Students

  • Capturing your heart through real life stories
  • Makes learning meaningful
  • Relates what you do in the class room with residents’ needs
  • Learn about the person behind the wrinkles
  • Learn about life and living

Benefits for older people

  • Be involved in guiding the next generation
  • Contribute in a meaningful way
  • Build relationships that can make a difference
  • Be involved and make a difference!


The information here is mainly directed to people, organisations and institutions in New South Wales, Australia. However, the resources were designed to be useful to older people and educators globally. Remember to always check and abide by any policies, regulations and laws that apply to your organisation and jurisdiction.