Engaging Learning for Retirees

Aaaah, retirement. For some, the mere thought of it conjures up visions of relaxing on the beach with a pina colada in hand, but for others it invokes feelings of dread. In reality, getting the most from retirement is hard work. It requires us to take a long, hard look at ourselves and decide how we want to spend the rest of our life. Research shows us that engaging learning for retirees has multiple benefits including reducing your chances of developing dementia

Retirement…now what?

Susan, a Hurley Elder Care Law client, was recently offered an early retirement. While she already was close to retiring, it came as a surprise, and she was faced with trying to occupy her excess time. However, not much thought had previously been given to what she would do to keep herself busy. After several months of traveling, gardening, and de-cluttering, it was clear to Susan she wanted MORE from her retirement.  “I’m not finished yet! And I’m concerned my brain isn’t being challenged in the way it used to be…” she shared.

College!  At MY age?

What options are available to retirees who seek to keep their minds sharp through learning? For many, the answer is to go back to school, but tuition can be prohibitively expensive. At the same time, schools want their classrooms to be full of engaged students, regardless of age. In the interest of continuing education, many colleges and universities offer reduced or free college for seniors.

For example, Georgia residents over the age of 62 can earn a UGA degree for free, thanks to a program from the University System of Georgia (USG). The USG tuition assistance program for eligible students includes online and in-person classes at the University of Georgia. Those who qualify are encouraged to apply for an undergraduate or graduate degree at UGA. Other in-state universities offer the same opportunity!

What is Lifelong Learning?

Lifelong learning is a form of self-initiated education that is focused on personal development.

Some lifelong learners enroll in adult education programs. Others take non-credit courses at institutes of higher education such as a state university or community college. For example, The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Emory is a lifelong learning program for seasoned adults who enjoy learning.

In contrast to formal learning directed towards including older individuals within a workforce, non-formal educational opportunities adopt a more holistic approach. They provide intellectually enriching experiences. MasterClass is a streaming platform that makes it possible for members to watch or listen to hundreds of video lessons taught by 150+ of the world’s best in business, photography, cooking, sports, and the arts.

Senior organizations such as AARP Georgia also offer a calendar of online and in-person events each month that cover topics including financial, travel and health.

Susan’s tale

Susan ultimately decided to check out her local senior center, finding several classes and seminars of great interest. Most local senior centers offer activities for active adults 55 and older.  In addition, libraries offer workshops and discussions free of charge.

There is learning available for everyone! As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever.”

Lastly, Hurley Elder Care Law hosts informative community education webinars and events as well. Coming up…learn about “The NEW Georgia Psychiatric Advance Directive: A Quantum Leap for Mental Health (Oct. 11) and “Celebration of Life Trends…and Tackling the Business of Dying” (Oct. 19). Please register and join us!

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