At the Refreshment University, a branch of Akdeniz University in the southern province of Antalya, men learn to knit and cook while women learn repair skills.
Ismail Tufan, a professor in the university’s Health Sciences Faculty, came up with the idea to create Türkiye’s first university for the elderly as a form of social responsibility.
In 2016, faculty members from Akdeniz University began teaching for free at a new university called Refreshment University.
“We did not invent educating older people, but we have brought new dimensions to it. According to Tufan, “We have established the only university for elders in the world, where old men learn to knit and cook, and women learn to repair.”
Tufan explained that people over a certain age need to alter their diet and unhealthy lifestyle habits and create long-term plans in order to reduce their risk of developing dementia, and that this is reflected in the school’s preparation of a specialised curriculum for its students.
“Knitting is also included in these, as knitting creates a situation in the brain like playing chess. They’re also good cooks. Women learn about repair work. Tufan noted that the students also participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities and study subjects as varied as agriculture, health, sports, history, law, and economics.