Seniors Benefit from Lifelong Learning

From my US News & World Blog

One way to boost our chances of a satisfying retirement is to consider continuing our education. Lifelong learning is a noble pursuit that will keep you engaged and challenged during your retirement years. Here’s why lifelong learning is beneficial for seniors:

[See The 10 Best Places to Retire in 2012.]

1. We get to pick the topics we want to learn. In retirement, our educational choices are no longer dictated by the requirements to complete a degree. Now is the time to pursue those off-the-beaten-path areas that truly spark our interest. For example, I would love to learn more about reptiles, gold rush history, how to write a novel, and how to play the guitar. The beauty is that what I decide to learn is my personal choice.

2. We have the time. I think one of the biggest challenges of retirement will be how to stay busy during all of the free time we inherit. Lifelong learning fills those potentially empty hours with interesting and engaging challenges. And at the end of the day our newly found knowledge is something we can be proud of having spent our time on.

[See Forget Tuition: How Retirees Can Attend College for Free.]

3. Learning keeps us sharp. For retirees who no longer receive the stimulation that comes with a job and its challenges, it is easy to slow down and lose our edge. I found that within 18 months of my retirement test drive I did not feel as sharp when speaking with others. Learning and studying keeps the mind engaged and our thinking clear. Plus, we inevitably learn some interesting tidbits to share at social events.

4. Learning keeps us socially engaged. While we were in school as younger people, most of our circle of friends came from classmates and those we interacted with in the school environment. Going back to school as retirees can open new channels of interaction and introduce us to new friends inside and outside of the classroom.

[See The 10 Best Places for Lifelong Learning.]

Here is where you can find details on lifelong learning near you:

  • provides links to adult education options.
  • has a state-by-state listing of free or low-cost educational opportunities for seniors.
  • Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes are located on 116 college and university campuses and offer non-credit courses for those age 50 and older.
  • Many states offer tuition waivers to residents above a certain age at state-funded institutions such as the Over 60 Program at California State University East Bay.

Dave Bernard is the author of Are You Just Existing and Calling it a Life?, which offers guidelines to discover your personal passion and live a life of purpose. Not yet retired, Dave has begun his due diligence to plan for a fulfilling retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.

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About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.