Thursday, October 15, 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!

Last week we looked at the wonderful curriculum offered at lifelong learning programs. This week, let’s take a look at the social aspects of belonging to such a program as well as the benefits for the hosts of such programs.

The Social Aspects
The social nature of lifelong learning helps us live longer. People join later-life learning programs as much for the socialization as for the education. Social activities are a very strong component of these programs. There, people make find old friends and make new ones.

Some of the social events include:
• Field Trips that tie into a particular course or educate members about various companies, organizations, or the inner workings of their community,
• Meals shared in convivial atmospheres
• Theatre and movie excursions
• Ice cream socials
• Overnight travel destinations
• Walking, hiking and biking clubs
• Book clubs
• Theme festivals, etc.

Statewide and regional conferences are also another way members interact on both a professional and social level. Conferences are a great way of bringing everyone together, to discuss the nature of their programs, their missions, policies and procedures, to share concerns, find solutions, and to celebrate their many victories.

Members and staff meet and mingle with their counterparts from other programs. A conference may be composed of programs from just one state or perhaps several different states. It may even be made up of programs from many states that want to meet because they are similar in structure or have the same concerns. Members from all across North America are always welcome to attend any of these conferences.

Benefits for an Academic Host
If a lifelong learning program hosted by a college or university, the benefits for that institution, their faculty, students and, indeed, the entire community are numerous. Here are a few ways everyone benefits:
• Having people of vast experience and great intellectual curiosity on campus provides fresh inspiration and focus to both the faculty and the students.
• A program on campus means faculty will have the opportunity to try out creative and innovative methods of teaching. At the same time they broaden their knowledge of the subject since the viewpoints of older students may provide many different perspectives.
• Providing support for a lifelong learning program enhances the quality of education for traditional students.
• Programs for older adults provide the institution with an opportunity to offer a wide variety of intergenerational opportunities to younger students.
• A lifelong learning program adds age diversity to the campus.
• Sponsoring such a program helps fulfill the school’s responsibility to act as an educational resource for the whole community.
• Hosting a lifelong learning program ties the needs of the community to the expertise of the school.
• Such a program with its older members serves as an ambassador for the institution.
• Lifelong learning programs located on campus may influence where people decide to retire–it brings active, intelligent people into a community.
• Program members attend cultural events at the school.
• Program members give money to fund scholarships and special events.
• Program members will "market" the institution to their grandchildren and others.
• Program members are often opinion leaders in the community and can help the school build support for legislative appropriations.
• Program members become "friends" of the school, which expands fundraising opportunities.
• Program members volunteer their time and expertise, which enhances the institution’s abilities to be the best educational facility possible.

Over the last twenty years scientists have documented the fact that being involved in social activities not only enhances lives but adds years as well. Social activities surround lifelong learning programs, and they make wonderful additions to your activities calendar. There’s nothing boring about a lifelong learning program.

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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