Spread the word about Lifelong Learning

Recently in the U.S. News & World Report, Dave Bernard composed a brief list of reasons why retirees should consider continuing their education sooner rather than later. He mentions benefits such as pursuing personal interests, staying busy, sharp and socially engaged. Unfortunately, these lifelong learning opportunities are sometimes elusive to potentially eager older adult students. Reasons may include; lack of awareness about organizations that promote lifelong learning, not living in areas that offer such classes and, finally, spending money on continuing ed classes in this economy may be a luxury some retirees feel they cannot afford.

However, I believe trying to overcome these obstacles in pursuit of knowledge are well worth the effort.  Research studies purport that continuing education beyond retirement age can positively impact quality of life in older persons. Also, given the current fast-moving digital age we live in, even learning minimal technology skills could be beneficial to connecting the retiree to an ever transient social community of family and friends.

It may sound as if I have known about lifelong learning initiatives and the mental health “perks” associated with it for some time. In truth, I have only recently become aware of this global trend. When I launched Snabbo in 2009, I tried to dream up ways to get the word out about a new online social network geared to Baby  Boomers. I reasoned that colleges and universities might be teaching computer skills to older adults. As I began an Internet search, I was amazed to discover lifelong learning programs that were available literally around the world. Upon closer examination of  what courses were being offered, I noticed classes with titles such as  “How to Use Facebook” or “Get your face on Facebook”. The thought occurred to me that if colleges were teaching Facebook to older adults then maybe they would include Snabbo in the curriculum as an example of a “niche” social network.  Rather than compose an email to send to the program directors of these institutions, I chose to make personal phone calls explaining my idea. I spoke to some amazingly dedicated individuals who have seen firsthand what a wonderful difference expanding knowledge in later life can make. I heard stories of lonely widows/widowers whose once a week class attendance gave them access to much-needed social interaction as well as new friends. People who may have been viewed as “old dogs” were actually learning new tricks. Some programs offered reduced tuition, scholarships, and rides to class. In the end, I became obsessed with finding out about each program and called program directors all over the world. SERIOUSLY. Some followed through and added Snabbo to their curriculum when they taught social network classes. But I was the one who actually learned something.

One problem I see is that lifelong learning opportunities don’t appear to get enough strong PR in some communities. Finding money in the budget for advertising is probably a huge issue for these programs. Therefore, any credible “free press” they can get must be appreciated.  I applaud Mr. Bernard’s blog post for directing attention to this topic. He includes some wonderful links to lifelong learning programs and other relevant websites.

Here are some links from my VERY long list. Feel free to contact me if you would like access to any more locations.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute


Plus50 Community Colleges: Ageless Learning

Encore Careers

Road Scholar



3 thoughts on “Spread the word about Lifelong Learning

  1. Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your site. You have some really good articles and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an email if interested. Kudos!

  2. You need to find a way to take those pre-requisite courses. I rtseudnand, for many PT grad programs, you need:- General Biology with lab, two semesters- General Chemistry with lab, two semesters- Anatomy Physiology, two semesters- Physics with lab, two semesters- English two semesters- Psychology two semesters: Like an intro to Psych class and an upper level course; Abnormal Psychology or Developmental Psychology are most often cited.- StatisticsNYU offers a *lot* of the courses you need via continuing education. They have, for example, Bio 1 2, Anatomy, the physics you need, psych including Abnormal Psych, etc. Honestly, even just in their summer offerings, they list every course you need. I’ll link, below. Columbia University also offers a lot of these classes via continuing ed, and their school of general studies. Them, I didn’t link to, but you can google.A lot of the NY area community colleges also offer many of these classes, although I’m not sure what they offer over the summer term. But Bergen County CC, out here in NJ, offers all the science classes, the English, the stats, and intro to psych this summer. I’d imagine the NYC area ccs also have a lot to offer. Cheap, and worth checking into.I believe you can get through a few of these this summer. Speak to your current university (if you’re still in school) to see if you can get credit at your home uni for the classes you take elsewhere you usually can. But no matter what, get the pre-reqs done at another school, so you qualify to apply to PT school.And see if you can get a placement at a local PT office, so you get that experience as well, as most PT schools seem to require it.

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