Lifelong learning becomes popular pastime among retirees
In just two years, the membership of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of California Santa Cruz has doubled to around 600 students, according to The Santa Cruz Sentinel. This is just the latest proof that these days, retirees are looking to go back to the classroom to learn about subjects that they may have skipped over during their first time at college.
There are almost 120 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes across the country, offering dozens of classes to boomers that are sure to keep anyone interested - whether they want to learn a new language or a little more about the stock market.
At the UC Santa Cruz institute, there are more than 40 interest groups that cover a diverse array of topics, from art to architecture.
"It's just taken off like gangbusters," 92-year-old Jim Faris, a founding member of the Osher program, told The Sentinel. "These things started growing out of the spontaneity of the membership. It is unique in that sense."
Mark Gordon, who has been part of the program for 10 years, explained that he enjoys the rich, cultural and intellectual setting of the classes.
"If you're an active learner, you continue to learn," he said to the publication. "There are no limits on that."
Homeowners at retirement communities such as Del Webb Woodbridge know this from personal experience. Here, retirees can choose to take classes through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of the Pacific or at California State University's University Extended Education program. Classes about writing, foreign language and investing are all part of the curriculum there, and students can take that knowledge back to Woodbridge every day, where they are able to talk about the subjects in more detail with their peers.
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In years past, it may have seemed unusual to see scores of older adults heading back to the classroom, but that is no longer the case. Many retirees make lifelong learning a priority once they leave the workforce, and few people are more emblematic of this growing trend than 92-year-old Ruth Elliott.
After retiring, adults have many decisions to make. Do they want to embark on an encore career? Travel? Perhaps they want to volunteer. But one of the most popular options for boomers is heading back to the classroom.
The baby boomer generation has been shaping travel trends for decades, and now as millions of its members are heading toward retirement, it is doing the same thing once again.
Heading back to the classroom has become a popular retirement activity for older adults.