Senior Citizens' Education Activities
Advantages of Lifelong Learning
- Education opens doors for most people, and for senior citizens it provides a way to learn, connect with others, and develop a new hobby or a new career. This is a time when many senior citizens can claim their life as their own: They are finished raising their family, working a 40-hour-a-week job, and attending PTA meetings. Many senior citizens want to learn or perfect a leisure-time activity, such as digital photography. Some will choose to return to school to prepare for a second career. Whatever the reason, becoming a lifelong learner provides health benefits as well as intellectual ones. Lifelong learning helps keep the mind and memory sharp. It improves self-image and confidence. Taking classes with others also gives the senior citizen a way to meet people with similar interests. Completing a course provides a sense of accomplishment.
College Learning Opportunities
- Many senior citizens choose to take classes at colleges, universities and local community or junior colleges. Some colleges offer reduced tuition for seniors and alumni. Classes can be taken either for credit, or not for credit. Most colleges offer classes developed specifically for senior citizens, such as computer skills, tax preparation and travel planning, but there are also some senior citizens who return to college full time to get their degree and even live on the college campus.
Online Classes and Tutorials
- Whether looking for a class on world history or a class on how to make a wedding ring quilt, seniors can find it on the Internet. Many colleges offer a wide variety of credit courses as well as hobby and special interest classes online. AARP offers a driving skills test for seniors, and there are websites on genealogy that provide tutorials on how to research a family tree. The Small Business Administration offers free classes on computer applications and tutorials on how to draft a business plan. The Internet opens the door to learning without putting on your coat or getting in your car.
Group Travel and Learning
- There is no better way to learn than with a group of people who share your interests. There are groups around the country that sponsor educational trips with a built-in focused learning element. Road Scholar, formerly called Elderhostel, offers educational trips for seniors. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes provide member-developed classes that are designed with seniors in mind. There are no tests and no homework. The classes are set in a congenial atmosphere. The Institute of Learning in Retirement has over 400 learning centers nationwide that emphasize education, conversation and travel. Group learning can change the scenery and your outlook on education.
Other Learning Opportunities
- Another source of cost-effective classes is at the local senior center, park district, and even religious or church groups. Courses offered can range from crafts and hobbies to music appreciation. Many offer group trips at a greatly reduced price. Some areas of the country offer adult classes as part of their local school district, providing another source of classes and a way to connect to other seniors.