As we age, it’s important to keep our minds and bodies sharp by engaging in lifelong learning. Learning isn’t just about reading books and attending classes – there are many other ways to interact with the world around us. This week, we’re highlighting how you can take advantage of the Lifelong Learning dimension of Westminster’s Eight Dimensions of Well-Being to keep your mind sharp during the summer months.
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. Explore three ways to keep sharp this summer: at a Westminster Community, with an online community or in your greater community.
LEARN AT A WESTMINSTER COMMUNITY
Many of our Life Plan 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 is a sample of some of the courses available for the upcoming semesters:
- The Wizard of Menlo Park: Thomas Edison at Westminster Shores: In 1847, in a small Ohio town, a boy was born who befuddled those he met. He didn’t talk until the age of four, developed a level of genius rarely seen and would go on to change the world with his many inventions. Thomas Edison would do whatever he could to achieve his goal of getting rich, ruthlessly crushing competitors, taking credit for the work of others and estranging himself from his children. Even so, life as we know it today was inexorably shaped by the man known as “The Wizard of Menlo Park.”
- A Very British Problem: Brexit (1945-2021) at Westminster Palms: Since the end of the Second World War, Britain has struggled with the question: Is Britain European? One response to that question is that Britain can only thrive if it is more European; for others, England can only succeed if it is less European. Explore the path to Brexit and what this means for the future of Britain and Europe.
- Eye to I: From Self-Portraits to Selfies at Westminster Suncoast: Self-portraiture has a long tradition while selfies are relatively new. Both, however, spring from the same human impulse: to be seen and shape the way we are seen. While most of our selfies will never be mistaken for a Rembrandt, some have been recognized as works of art. Join Margo Hammond in a survey of self-portraiture and get inspired to create more artistic selfies of your own.
Whatever your interests may be, you are sure to find something that sparks your curiosity and expands your horizons. With these exceptional courses available right at our doorstep, there is no better time to start exploring lifelong learning opportunities.
Lifelong Learning doesn’t just have to happen in a classroom. Having access to educational opportunities right at home is an invaluable asset for older adults looking to stay sharp. With the abundance of online courses, tutorials, and videos available, there are endless possibilities for learning without ever leaving the house. Here are a few ways to engage:
- Absorb information online: Learn a new skill or brush up on an existing one with an online course, ranging from basic computer skills and internet safety, to cooking techniques or foreign language instruction. Many sites such as LinkedIn or Coursera offer free or low-cost access to courses in a variety of subjects and skill levels. Residents at Westminster Point Pleasant enjoy access to One Day University, offering hundreds of entertaining and informative lectures on science, history, art, politics and more, like “Inside the Score of Broadway’s ‘Hamilton’” with Gil Harel of Brandeis University and “Much Ado about Shakespeare: Why Three Great Comedies Still Matter Today” with Joseph Luzzi of Bard College.
- Explore your local library: Libraries are a valuable resource for accessing materials without having to purchase them. Explore books, magazines, newspapers, audiobooks and DVDs for free in topics ranging from history and philosophy to fiction and science fiction. Participate in programs and educational opportunities offered and engage with your peers. For those with limited mobility, your local library may even offer delivery services so users can still take advantage of their offerings without having to leave home.
- Become a master with help from museums: Get great information about art, culture, science, technology and other aspects of life – often with interactive exhibits designed specifically for older adults at your local museums!
No matter what your learning style is or what subject you’re interested in exploring further – there are plenty of options available right at home for keeping your mind active.
LEARN IN YOUR GREATER COMMUNITY
It’s not enough just to set aside dedicated time for studying or taking online classes—you should also look at ways to make learning part of your everyday life.
- Volunteer: Stay connected with your community and learn new skills by volunteering. Whether it’s helping at a local charity, participating in environmental projects, or teaching others about topics you’re passionate about, volunteering provides meaningful opportunities for seniors to get involved and make a difference. Not only will you be able to help others, but you can also develop valuable skills.
- Meet with like-minded individuals: Joining book clubs is another great way to stay engaged with learning. Through these discussions, members can gain different perspectives on various topics as well as form meaningful relationships with their peers. Many book clubs also provide access to free readings and literary events in the area that offer further learning opportunities.
- Check out local colleges and universities: Attending lectures at nearby universities is another way seniors can keep sharp this summer. Many universities offer free admission for seniors who are interested in attending lectures and gives seniors the chance to hear from top industry professionals and experts on diverse topics that may interest them. This type of interaction offers an invaluable learning experience that cannot be replicated online – not only do seniors get direct contact with experts, but they also benefit from engaging with students of all ages who might have fresh thoughts on current topics of discussion.
NEVER STOP LEARNING
Lifelong learning is an invaluable part of a well-rounded lifestyle. By exploring the opportunities available at Westminster Communities of Florida’s communities, online or in your greater community, seniors can keep sharp and engaging with the world around them this summer. Don’t miss out on the chance to boost your vitality and well-being – explore the possibilities with Westminster’s 8 Dimensions of Well-Being today!