Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lifelong Learning Thursday

Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret of Making the Most of Your After 50 Years will share the benefits of Lifelong Learning on Thursdays.

The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years.

Lifelong Learning in Your Later Years…
A Health Club for Your Mind, Body, and Spirit!

So, now that we’ve seen some concrete examples of the validation of lifelong learning, what do others say about the value of continuing to learn, no matter what our ages? Here is a sampling of their thoughts and comments.

In the words of Harvey MacKay, author of four New York Times bestsellers, “You don’t go to school once for a lifetime; you are in school all of your life. That’s why they call graduation “commencement”–it’s just the beginning.”

He goes on to say, “You can grow as much as you want to. Your mind has plenty of room to hold information. We typically use only 10% of our brains. Would you be satisfied to get that little service out of any other part of your body?” …We live in the information age, the space age, the early years of the new Millennium. Technology has given us access to facts and figures and people and places at the touch of a button. We have every opportunity to learn and grow at any hour of the day. Today is the right time to start expanding your mind.”

And, if the 1990s were the mandated “Decade of the Brain,” then it has been suggested by Sandra Timmermann, Director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute in Westport, Connecticut that the 2000s will be the decade known as the “Mainstream Era” for older adult lifelong learning. She cites several reasons for this.

1. Research on the brain and how the mind works has revolutionized the way we think about learning as we age.

2. More nontraditional organizations and institutions want to know about older adults–what they are experiencing physically, socially and emotionally–and how to provide information to them most effectively.

3. The boomers will take lifelong learning for granted and incorporate education in their lives well into old age.

4. Continual learning is increasingly viewed as helping older adults unleash the creativity and find meaning in their lives.

5. There will always be committed, creative individuals who will have an idea, a concept for an adult-learning program that will capture our imaginations and take off.

Furthermore, another in-process research study involving aging has released the following preliminary results, again demonstrating the benefit to persons involved in programs where creativity is an ingredient:

· Better overall health
· Significantly fewer doctor visits
· Diminished use of medications
· Significantly less depression and loneliness
· Increased involvement in activities.

And today, as Harvey MacKay said, is the right time to start expanding your mind. You are taking that first step just by reading this column. At no other time in history has our society been so poised to accept the value of later life learning. Let yourself be part of it!


Martina Horner, a past president of Radcliffe College, has said, “What is important is to keep learning, and enjoy challenge...” Lifelong learning, as the research shows, makes our lives better. Since each of us has to live our entire life with ourselves, doesn’t it make sense for us to want to be informed, reasoning and interesting beings? By engaging in lifelong learning, we will be those informed, reasoning and interesting beings. And, by doing so, we will have happier, more fulfilled lives.

For more information on Learning Later, Living Greater visit

You can purchase Learning Later, Living Greater at

Till Next Time…

Nancy Merz Nordstrom is Director of the Lifelong Learning Department at Computer School for Seniors (

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