As we enter the month of May, we celebrate the success of graduates everywhere. But just because you’ve completed your formal education doesn’t mean you have to stop learning! In fact, continuing to learn is a great way to keep your mind sharp and your body healthy.
Residents at a Westminster Communities of Florida’s Life Plan Communities enjoy a plethora of lifelong learning opportunities as a part of our MyWLife wellbeing program. We believe that wellbeing is much more than just physical wellness, and that to be “well,” you must consider your mind as well as your body. Our communities offer ways for residents to challenge their minds and keep their pencils sharp with Lifelong Learning courses on subjects as varied as painting, Spanish, and the discoveries of the James Webb Space Telescope.
BENEFITS OF LIFELONG LEARNING
Continuing to learn new skills and information throughout life can have many important benefits for seniors. Here are some of the biggest benefits that come from continuing to learn as you age:
Improved Brain Function: Learning is an excellent way to keep your brain active and healthy. Studies have found that engaging in intellectually stimulating activities helps people stay mentally sharp, even as they get older. Challenging your mind with learning new skills can help reduce cognitive decline and improve memory recall, too.
More Self-Confidence: Taking on a new challenge like learning something new can give you a sense of accomplishment which can boost self-confidence and help you develop positive attitudes towards yourself. Learning something difficult or complex also creates an opportunity for growth, which can lead to enhanced self-esteem.
Greater Social Connections: Many educational opportunities involve socializing with others who share similar interests, providing an opportunity for seniors to make meaningful connections with their peers or other people in their community who may not be part of their immediate social circle. This could be through joining a club or attending workshops where people discuss different topics or work together on projects.
Improved Quality of Life: Lifelong learning has been linked with improved physical health outcomes such as reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, lower levels of stress, improved sleep patterns, increased energy levels and longevity overall – all factors that contribute towards enjoying a better quality of life overall!
COURSES AT OUR COMMUNITIES
Many of our communities have partnerships with local colleges and universities and even host courses on campus. In Tallahassee, St. Petersburg and Jacksonville, we have partnerships with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at Florida State University, Eckerd College and the University of North Florida, for residents to attend these exceptional courses and even provide classrooms! Here are a sample of some of the interesting courses available for the upcoming summer and fall semesters:
- “The James Webb Space Telescope: A Revolution in the Making,” at Westminster Oaks
Astronomy has been the driver of forefront science and technology, fascinating generations since the beginning of humanity. However, only now do we have the technology to answer fundamental questions: Are we alone in the Universe? What did the infant Universe look like? What is the origin of elements? What is the nature of the so-called Dark Energy? In this course, we will venture from our solar system to nearby stars, from our galaxies to the very beginning of the Universe. In the final lecture, back to earth, we will discuss the technical challenges to build the James Webb Space Telescope.
- “Henry Ford and His Magic Model T,” at Westminster Suncoast
The name “Henry Ford” is one of the most recognizable in American History. He was not educated, not a brilliant automotive engineer nor was he the first American to build or sell cars. Ford was middle aged before he found the formula for success that made him the world’s richest man in his day. Henry Ford excelled at vision and leadership and created a machine that literally revolutionized the entire world. Join us as we examine the life of this often controversial patriarch of American Manufacturing.
- “Martin Luther King Jr.: Warrior for Justice,” at Westminster Palms
Few individuals have impacted the thinking and behavior of a nation like the Rev. Martin Luther King. An outstanding student, he graduated from college at 18 and went on to attain his Ph.D. in 1955. King came to national prominence directing a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama and soon founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Arrested often and vilified by many, he persevered and became the greatest proponent of Civil Rights in American History but was murdered for his efforts in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968. The youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, his legacy as a champion of the rights of free peoples everywhere is literally incalculable.
- “British Royal Life at a Very British Castle: Windsor,” at Westminster Shores
Explore England’s most famous castle and royal residence. What would a visit to a medieval castle in the 1350s be like? What would you wear? What would you eat? How would you be entertained? How do the royal family live in Windsor Castle now? Learn about Megan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding. What happens to prepare for a state banquet? Learn about the royal family’s peculiar ways to be thrifty. Explore the treasures of Windsor including Queen Mary’s dollhouse, Henry VIII’s suit of armor and the clothes that Napoleon wore the night before the battle of Waterloo.
We encourage residents to take full advantage of these educational resources so they can continue to learn new skills and information throughout life. With the right combination of self-motivation and dedication, anyone can enjoy the benefits associated with lifelong learning!