The Healthy Senior University (UZS) was established in October 2013 under the initiative of Professor Elżbieta Krajewska-Kułak, MD, PhD, Deputy Dean of Students at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the Medical University of Białystok. Mateusz Cybulski, PhD in Health Sciences and researcher of the interdisciplinary aspects of population aging, was appointed as the project’s coordinator.
340 people have thus far graduated from the Healthy Senior University. In order to enrol, you must fulfil two conditions, i.e. be over 60 and live in or near Białystok.
In the academic year of 2016/2017, the City Office of Białystok, which contributes financially to the project, became the partner and co-organiser of the Healthy Senior University.
The main objectives of the Healthy Senior University include the following:
- promotion of a healthy lifestyle and attitude;
- expansion of information in the fields of:
- health care improving the living quality for the elderly,
- use of innovative diagnostics and treatment technologies,
- use of drugs, dietary supplements, and pharmacoeconomics in treatment of diseases of the elderly;
- prevention of loneliness and social activation of the elderly.
The UZS curriculum is based on three foundations: lectures, exercises, and elective classes.
During these classes the UZS students learn how to administer first aid, measure glycemia and arterial pressure, perform phoniatric exercises, and the main recommendations of cancer prevention.
The last phase of the course covers three extracurricular classes, which include the following:
- Practical training in care for the disabled and people suffering from severe illnesses.
- Practical training in care for grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
- Practical training in Nordic Walking.
In the years 2018 and 2019, UZS was nominated to the Podlasie Brand of the Year award. In 2019, it was recognised by the Mayor of Białystok as a “Senior Friendly Place”.
Due to the high interest of seniors in continuing education and expanding their health awareness, health education stage II in form of the nationally unique University of Psychogeriatric Prevention was launched in the academic year of 2015/2016 in response to the needs presented by the elderly inhabitants of Białystok. The project was officially launched on 7 March 2016. As the course is intended to serve as continuation of the health course for seniors, the project is open to people residing in Białystok who are over 60 years old and have graduated from the previous edition of the Healthy Senior University.
The main objectives of the project include the following:
- Promotion of a healthy lifestyle and attitude in scope of mentality.
- Expansion of information in the fields of:
- health care improving the living quality for the elderly with mental disorders;
- use of innovative diagnostics and treatment technologies;
- use of drugs in treatment of mental disorders of the elderly.
- Prevention of loneliness and social exclusion of the elderly.
- Social activation of the elderly.
The course covers 11 lectures, the subjects of which include discussions of individual groups of mental disorders among the elderly, i.e. depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, sleep disorders, sexual disorders, additions to alcohol and drugs, dementia, and epidemiology in individual groups of diseases.