The end of summer means back-to-school time for grandchildren, nieces and nephews, which may have you wondering if there's some way you could enrich your own life through education. It's vital to keep your mind active as you age, and the best way to do that is through continuing education. Here are some of the benefits of pursuing new subjects as a senior and how to get started.
Benefits of Active Learning
Digital photography, quilting and some other classes encourage the use of your hands, putting your brain on high alert, according to the Association of Psychological Science. These activities tap into your working memory, which needs active engagement, as well as your long-term memory and cognitive processes.
In a study reported by the APS, one group took active engagement classes like photography. Others were advised to relax at home with classical music and word puzzles. Other activities tested for cognitive impact in the study included field trips, entertainment and social engagement. After three months, researchers found that adults who engaged in learning new skills showed continued memory improvement.
Auditing Classes for Free
Missouri residents age 65 and older are eligible for free tuition at state-supported institutions on a non-credit basis. Audit classes for free and attend interesting lectures without the hassle of homework and grades.
If you want to work toward a degree, get a senior citizen tuition waiver. Many Missouri colleges near Ellisville offer them to retirees. With a tuition waiver, you earn college credit without paying for it. This works well for residents who started college but didn't get to finish and gives them a chance to earn a formal degree.
Some professors welcome the diversity and stability older students provide. It's a great way for younger students to gain perspective from those who've lived a little. For retirees, the arrangement lets them interact with vibrant young students who help them feel young at heart.
Campus Amenities and Perks
Fun, interesting classes aren't the only advantage of going to college after retirement. Colleges host speakers, politicians, concerts and sporting events, and locals are encouraged to participate.
Depending on school policy, libraries, gyms and other campus amenities might be available to non-degree senior students. This is a great opportunity to head to the campus coffee shop with your classmates of all ages for interesting discussions about school and life.
Classes for Seniors
If you love sharing a lecture hall with younger students, enroll in traditional courses. If you'd rather take classes with your peers, choose courses just for seniors. Maybe you're a history buff or want to learn how to manage your finances better. Find out what courses have sections just for retirees.
This option doesn't give you the social aspect that attending classes in person provides, but your choices are nearly unlimited. Take courses from the comfort of your apartment and encourage friends to sign up with you.
If the list of available courses overwhelms you, try two of the biggest providers first. Coursera and edX have free online courses taught by qualified professors at top universities, and you're only charged if you decide to pursue a certificate. Online courses work better for seniors who no longer drive but are very tech-savvy.
Classes Available Within Our Community
"Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning." - Proverbs 9:9
Intelligent conversation is always encouraged at Autumn View Gardens, and you can start a book club or discussion group with other residents, so everyone keeps a sharper mind. If you're not sure what's available or have a certain subject in mind, talk with a staff member to find out more.
Bethesda Foundaion is not associated with the Bethesda Health Group of St. Louis, MO.