Wednesday, September 16, 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!

Now that we know a little about the origins of the “learning in retirement” movement, let’s explore Lifelong Learning Institutes (LLI) over these next few weeks.

Lifelong Learning Institutes are programs run by and for older adults. Most of the programs that belong to the Elderhostel Institute Network are housed under the auspices of a college or university. But not all.

Today, more and more programs are starting up, independent of colleges and universities. Many are being developed at active adult retirement communities and others at continuing care communities. Some are stand-alone programs formed by local residents within a community.

Whether formed with the help of a local college or university or by committed older adults, all but a very few programs are open to anyone, regardless of previous academic history. These programs offer a nice mix of college level, non-credit courses and social events.

So what makes them different from community or adult education programs? First of all, they are run by and for older adults, usually over the age of 50. People “join” these programs and pay a low membership dues. This fosters a sense of “ownership” and commitment among members. A strong volunteer aspect and a real feeling of community are also hallmarks of such programs. LLIs are run and attended by local people who commute to the program. They participate regularly year after year and get to know one another as friends, co-volunteers and classmates.

Each Lifelong Learning Institute is unique. They all have their own names, although generically they are referred to as LLIs. There are variables within each program, depending on how they are set-up. Academic study, travel/study, membership activities, financial accountability, community outreach, public relations–all are developed and expanded by direct member input and decision-making.


Thoughts from one lifelong learning institute member…”We base everything on the belief that our capacity to learn and grow does not decrease as our years increase. In fact, through learning and the adventures we embark on, we actually embrace self-fulfillment.” Wow! I don’t think life doesn’t get any better than that!

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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