The agreement set today between the University of Malta’s ‘University of the Third Age (U3A)’ and the Ministry for Active Ageing renews the vested interest between the two parties in the area of active ageing, originally signed on 17 September 2019. Today, both parties signed to renew services offered in their Mellieha and Birzebbugia, as well as open a new U3A Centre in Hamrun.
In addition, the U3A commits itself to provide extended services under the ‘University of the Fourth Age (U4A)’ title in dementia care centres as well as other care/residential homes across the Maltese Islands. Thus, enabling older persons living with dementia and others residing in care homes or long-term care facilities the opportunity to lead active and successful lives.
Present for the event were the honourable Minister of Active Ageing, Hon. Dr Jo Etienne Abela, the University’s Rector, Prof. Alfred J. Vella and U3A director, Prof. Marvin Formosa alongside the Ministry's Permanent Secratery Christine Schembri, Commissioner for the Elderly Prof. Godfrey LaFerla and CEO of Active Ageing and Community Care Dr Renzo Degabriele.
Prof. Formosa thanks the University of Malta’s Rector and the Minister for the commitment taken by both stakeholders in the running of such services, whilst looking forward to seeing how today’s event will unfold in terms of the services offered by this renewed joint initiative. He expressed that, “This event underlines the commitment on behalf of the Ministry for Active Ageing and the University of Malta to ensure that not only older persons living in the community are provided with an opportunity to engage in lifelong learning, and thus lead active ageing lifestyles, but also ensuring that ‘no one is left behind’ as older persons who are frail and who may be living with dementia, and even living in care homes, are also given an opportunity to participate in meaningful activities. After all, living is learning and learning is living”.
The Minister for Active Ageing, Dr Jo-Etienne Abela, underlined that this agreement is further evidence that the government is committed to implement the National Strategic Policy for Active Ageing and continues to confirm the astute decision on behalf of the government to elevate ageing to a Ministerial level.
In conclusion, the University’s Rector, Prof. Alfred J. Vella added, “Age should not stop us from seeking to increase our knowledge and generate debate. Today's agreement signing is another way the University proves itself a leader in not only providing valuable educational programmes to its younger students but also commits itself to provide such service to a more mature population... regardless of age. Let this be one of many initiatives that continues to build in this direction as we continue to make the University more accessible and versatile within our immediate community and possibly, beyond.”
More about the University of the Third Age
The U3A was launched in 1993 under the care of the University of Malta with a number of centres that have been set up to provide services for the elderly across Malta & Gozo. The U4A takes the services offered by the U3A and brings them to a community of the mature community currently residing in care, specialised and/or residential homes.