Young people aren’t the only students gearing up to go back to school this fall, older adults are also returning to the classroom in growing numbers. Whether continuing education fulfills a lifelong dream of finishing a degree or provides a mental challenge to help seniors stay sharp in retirement, colleges are increasingly tailoring classes to meet the needs of active and engaged older adults.
Continuing to learn new skills or information has been linked with a lower risk for dementia and cognitive decline in older age and participating in group activities can help prevent social isolation leading to depression. In Prince Edward Island, Canada, where nearly 20 percent of the population is over the age of 65, Seniors College offers nearly 150 courses for older adults. Retired adults can select from a varied assortment of classes that run between one and four weeks.
What are older adults interested in learning about in school? Seniors College offers the standard fare like painting, computer literacy or cooking courses but added to this year’s slate of classes is a Cannabis Industry course as well as Nordic Pole Walking. Public and private colleges and universities often offer courses designed with the lifelong learner in mind; some waive tuition for older adults or offer a reduced tuition rate to seniors. Both credit and non-credit classes can enrich the lives of older adults who are thriving in their retirement years.
Learn more about which colleges and universities offer lifelong learning programs for people over the age of 50 by following this link to The Bernard Osher Foundation. In Canada, many universities also offer a free ride to adults over the age of 60, including York University; others will reduce fees by up to 50 per cent. With a little research and some hard work, you might be well on your way to that MBA you always wanted.