Here are just a few of the miscellaneous new programs and initiatives being developed around the country, all of which will help continue your lifelong learning quest in those “After-50” years .Thanks to Civic Ventures Blueprint for the Next Chapter for this list.
The Senior Companion Program is part of Senior Corps, a network of national service programs that provides older Americans with the opportunity to apply their life experiences to meeting community needs. Senior Companions serve one-on-one with the frail elderly and other homebound persons who have difficulty completing everyday tasks.
The Third Age Initiative of Leadership Greater Hartford provides leadership training for older adults and helps connect them with leadership roles in the community.
The Discovering What’s Next program in Newton, Massachusetts partners with the Newton Community Education program to offer deeper exploration of topics touched on in library forums. A two-part seminar, Life Planning for Couples in the Second Half of Life identified major lifestyle changes couples face and engaged participants in a process of exploration and conversation about their implications for their relationships.
The Transition Talks, Discovering What’s Next: Re-Vitalizing Retirement workshops and forums in Newton, Massachusetts were extremely popular and participants expressed a desire to continue meeting in smaller groups. As a result, Transition Talks was developed – informal drop-in conversation groups held at local Starbucks stores and the public library for discussions about topics related to retirement and aging.
Cleveland’s OASIS Without Walls program conducted focus groups of baby boomers in their effort to attract younger members. Their responses led program planners to offer a series of courses related to spirituality and inner explorations including, Inner Peace by Meditation, the Seven Chakras, Peaceful Practices, and Sage-ing Circles.
LifeLearn Program at the Goodrich-GannettNeighborhoodCenter offers computer classes and incorporates computer and technology features into lifelong learning programs. Older adult participants are able to apply and advance their computer skills to specific topics they explored in classes or discussions.
The Seniors Connect@Cleveland Pubic Library initiative is sponsoring Senior Health and Legal Information Fairs as part of its overall program to promote health and wellness. Libraries across the country are becoming key gateways to health information and offering programs on health and wellness for active adults.
I've presented just some of the many innovative and exciting ideas being developed with the goal to keep older adults active, engaged and contributing members of society. All of these ideas have a Lifelong Learning component, a valuable ingredient needed to reach that goal.
Nancy Nordstrom is the author of, “Learning Later, Living Greater. ”She also directs the Elderhostel Institute Network, North America's largest educational network for older adults. She offers counseling to new programs, and provides resources and facilitates communication among 400 lifelong learning programs across the U.S. and Canada.