Hasan Karadal, age 71, who is residing in western province of İzmir, was diagnosed with dementia three years ago. Like any other patient, he began to go to the hospital regularly to find a way to slow down the progress, or maybe even find a cure. His family and friends, however, had a better idea: They encouraged Karadal to enroll in university to keep his mind fresh. So he did.
Karadal studied for the university entrance exams and managed to enroll in İstanbul University’s Department of Cultural Heritage and Tourism. However, after getting the taste for learning and putting his brain back to work again, Karadal also decided to enroll to the Senior Citizens University, which targets 60+ citizens under the umbrella of İzmir’s Ege University. Currently, Karadal is studying at his last year at the Department of Cultural Heritage and Tourism. Moreover, he will continue to attend various classes including mythology, gastronomy, cosmology, health sciences and economics at the Senior Citizens University for another three years. What is surprising, however, is not Karadal’s admirable achievement but the fact that the symptoms of his dementia are entirely gone.
“After retiring, I began to forget things,” said Karadal speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA). One day, Karadal could not recognize his friends when they bumped into each other. “I was very ashamed that day” said Karadal. “I was going to the hospital but my children advised me to enter the university exams. So I did.” Karadal believes that the Senior Citizen University has helped him a lot on his journey to get better. “I feel like I am 28 years old. It is important to socialize when you are old,” he added. GeroAtlas60+ Senior Citizens University was founded in 2016 by professor İsmail Tufan of Ege University. The university has a variety of classes shaped according to the demands of the students including anatomy, medicine, psychology, law, physiotherapy and many more. The university aims to teach senior citizens new skills while helping them to socialize.