Learning allows us to dive deep into topics that interest us, answer questions about subjects that puzzle us, and have the satisfaction of knowing more than we did yesterday.
For older adults, lifelong learning is a great way to broaden your mind and stay curious about the world around you. Many older adults take classes at universities and colleges or through education programs to be lifelong learners.
“We offer multiple learning opportunities for our residents,” said Holly Weaver, Director of Community Life Services at Sagewood, a senior living community in Phoenix, Arizona. “So many of our residents enjoy education and taking their learning to the next step.”
Take a look at these lifelong learning programs for seniors if you’re getting started on your lifelong educational journey.
Benefits of Lifelong Learning for Seniors
Engage Your Mind
When you’re a lifelong learner, you’re processing new ideas and information, challenging your mind to form new connections and putting your brain in an intellectually stimulating environment. Studies show that older adults who engage in these kinds of activities can reduce their risk for cognitive decline.
Make New Social Connections
Class discussions with your peers and professor are a standard part of courses – whether you’re speaking in person or on a discussion forum.
Isolation and loneliness are detrimental to anyone, especially older adults. Loneliness is connected to depression, anxiety, and heart failure.
Learning new skills can help give you a sense of purpose – whether you’re working toward a degree or you’re learning for the sake of curiosity. Studies suggest that having a purpose in life leads to living longer. As a lifelong learner, you’re taking steps that can increase your longevity.
Online Lifelong Learning Programs for Seniors
1. Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)
The Bernard Osher Foundation supports 125 lifelong learning programs at universities across the country. Adults over the age of 50 can take courses without worrying about receiving grades or course credit–the courses are there so you can focus on enjoying the learning process.
2. Oasis Institute
The Oasis Institute is dedicated to supporting older adults through lifelong learning and volunteering. You can look at their virtual classes here.
3. Senior Net
This nonprofit organization helps teach seniors about technology and how they can use it to benefit their lives. SeniorNet has locations in libraries, community centers, colleges, and more around the country.
4. Road Scholar
Road Scholar offers at-home learning opportunities, from multi-day adventures to daily lectures. There’s always a classroom where you can join and enjoy learning something new.
Lifelong Learning at Sagewood
While Sagewood residents frequent presentations and educational opportunities across the greater Phoenix area, they are fortunate to enjoy the Sagewood Institute of Lifelong Learning offering within the community on a regular and frequent basis. SILL was created and is managed by more than 15 residents that make up their curriculum committee. Spring and fall series offerings convey college-level curriculum offered by dozens of exemplary speakers and presenters from around the world. The program content is carefully tailored to the interests of the residents, as the curriculum committee utilizes direct resident feedback and their fortuitous and extensive relationships to curate this incredible lifelong learning opportunity. Supported by Sagewood Administration and the Community Life Services team, this ongoing activity often draws hundreds of participants to each event.
Sagewood is fortunate to have over 65 unique resident interest and activity groups that offer residents the ability to continue their pursuit of a hobby or passion and share their knowledge with fellow neighbors and friends. Community Life Services promotes these groups and provides financial and administrative support to ensure the greatest success.
Additionally, Community Life Services hosts a plethora of educational opportunities with their own slate of speakers, classes and clubs that supplement Sagewood’s resident-driven success in creating an ongoing culture of learning within the community. If this sounds like the right retirement environment for you, give us a call at 480-573-8099 to learn about how to get on our waitlist.