Seniors, Learning and the “Awakening Experience”

In my view, one of the most important parts of a vital life, at any age, is staying mentally engaged. For those people that reach the point of retiring from their chosen career or job many have what has been called, unretired brains. These seniors seek intellectual stimulation and new knowledge and undoubtedly include many with advanced professional training, doctors, lawyers and professionals of all kinds. In the recent article, Seniors Seek Intellectual Buzz, by Leslie Brody, WSJ, 3/10/2017, Henry Nusbaum a senior learner at age 103 goes and audits a college class on Medieval History, sitting in the front row no less! He is a prime example of a deep interest in learning. The article goes on to indicate the interest in more formal endeavors noting that the National Center for Education counts 66,000 people over age 64 enrolled in degree granting postsecondary institutions in 2013. The article notes some universities are responding and providing access to audit classes and the library. But you can be sure that baby boomers with advanced education will press for more meaningful engagement. One option: not just traditional auditing a course here or there or the other extreme of high commitment full on enrollment, but a mid-ground with a formalized structured certificate programs in various college departments to give a new lease to later life.