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Learn as Long as You Live

Dec 21 2017

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

By Karen Weeks, elderwellness.netkaren@elderwellness.net

Here is something you might not have known: Seniors get huge discounts for learning new things.

That’s right. In all fifty states, there are discounts on tuition and tuition waivers for seniors at reputable universities and regional colleges. Here’s just one example: Anyone aged sixty or older can take courses at Indiana University for half the usual in-state tuition costs. This learning opportunity is on a space available basis, and seniors are permitted to register for classes during the last three days of registration. 

Still keenly interested in learning new things? Retirement might very well be the best time to do that. Whether you want to learn to dance, start up a new business or teach your old dog some new tricks, there’s never been a better or cheaper time to do it.

MOOCS are all the rage

Massive open online courses, familiarly known as MOOCs, are the future of learning, according to a recent article in Forbes. These, usually free, online courses allow anyone to learn exactly what they want to learn without enrolling in time-consuming degree programs that often require irrelevant courses.

There is a MOOC for everything, from salsa dancing to finance. One of the most notable MOOCs is Yale University’s “Financial Markets.” The course was developed and is taught by Robert J. Shiller, famous for winning a Nobel Prize for Economics.

The course is essentially free. You can take all of the classes and spend nothing. If you want an official course credit, you pay a small fee. Reviewers have recommended this course for people who need to manage money from fixed incomes.

MOOCs are fabulous because you can take them as an individual or invite a group of friends over to learn new skills with you.

Dance and exercise online

Learning a new dance or a specific set of exercises is as simple as going to Google and searching it. YouTube videos are especially useful, because a video is worth a thousand, or more, words when it comes to learning new movements.

If you want really structured instruction, you can take online dance classes that start at $2, and packages at $5. If you don’t want to pay, there are numerous free videos that start you out with basic steps and work up to more difficult movements.

YouTube is also extremely valuable for providing the right level of music you need to do basic dance steps. For instance, you can google “easy salsa music” and get the results you need.

You might be surprised how useful the internet is when it comes to targeted exercises. If you are in need of exercises to rebuild core strength after hospitalization, for instance, you can find them at the Mayo Clinic’s website.

Dog training online

Everyone wants a well-behaved dog that reflects well on their owner. But as we age, it’s even more important that your dog obey simple commands. Untrained dogs can pull their owners over, causing life-threatening injuries. No one can afford to break a hip.

There are online classes that you and your dog-owning friends can take to make sure your dogs are obedient enough not to cause injury to you or others. The commands you’ll learn are effective, but often, not complicated. Teaching your dog the basics of “sit,” “stay” and “heel” is easy for both of you to learn, but will go a long way in establishing obedience. Rover explains, “Useful in so many situations, ‘sit’ is often the first command dogs learn. In fact, most dogs ‘sit’ on their own, so all you have to do is connect the command to the behavior.”

In conclusion, there’s never a better time than retirement to start learning new things and improve skills you already have. A little research on MOOCs and other online learning opportunities will take you a long, long way.