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The Elderhostel Experience

    There is an increasing number of families in which both parents who are semi-retired or fully retired and desire to maintain their own households. After a life time of working full-time outside of the home, maintaining independence and standard of living becomes a very important consideration in retirement planning that extends beyond medical care and normal household expenses.

    There are private and publicly run not-for-profit programs available through schools, churches, park & recreation departments, and a stand alone for profit businesses that offer assistance.

    Every community should have a program that provides services for our oldest members who need a nurturing environment that enriches their lives socially, physically, and mentally.

Service Learning and Older Adults
    Youth and older adults are the most valuable sources of community volunteerism in the United States today. An important part of involving youth in service to others has been the proliferation and sophistication of service-learning programs that provide opportunities for meaningful engagement and reflection.

    Service learning is recognized as an integral part of both community involvement and education, and youth are provided with growing opportunities to combine practice and knowledge. However, as this movement has developed, older adult volunteers have been largely excluded. Despite theory and observation that demonstrates older adults’ desire to stay engaged in learning and service, programs
providing them with structured opportunities are rare.

After outlining the development and expansion of service-learning programs for youth in the United States, this paper asks the question, ‘‘Why not service learning for elders?’’ analyzes some of the potential benefits of institutionalizing such an approach, and highlights promising efforts in the field.

Elderhostel Road Scholar Programs
     Road Scholar is the new name for Elderhostel, the worldwide network of educational opportunities for students who are at least 55 years old. Spouses and traveling companions may be younger. The average US program costs $425 per student and the fee includes room, board, and a week of stimulating, thought-provoking, challenging college-level liberal arts and humanities courses.

Special Adult Learning Programs
     Elderhostel is different from the special adult learning programs that many state colleges and universities offer. These programs are designed to allow older individuals to return to the classroom and earn a degree. Some programs may give older working adults some college credits based upon their life and work experiences. They also offer special counseling and support services to assist and encourage the older student. Contact a local community college, state college or university near you to learn if special adult learner programs are offered in your community.

Lifelong learning
     Often, the process of growing older can isolate us from family and friends who are pursuing their own destinies.  Usually, the process of losing touch is a gradual process and ultimately find ourselves lacking the human contact we need to survive. However, it may occur suddenly after the death of a spouse or child.

    Learning activities stimulate the brain, producing benefits such as enhanced mental alertness, thought processes, response times, and reflexes. “When you look at the benefits gained from keeping your mind sharp, it’s incredible,” says Nancy Merz Nordstrom, one of the nation’s top experts on lifelong learning. “Lifelong learning is like a health club for your brain.”

     Another important benefit is participation in a community of likeminded learners. “People come for the learning, but they stay for the community that they find,” says Judy Mann, director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) at Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies. “This gets more important as people unplug from connections professionally, because they can find like-minded people in learning communities.”

     Enrolling in classes and becoming in involved in organized activities can remedy that problem through the interaction with a variety of interesting people. Contact with other like-minded people who have interesting life experiences to share participating in projects and activities can be invigorating.

References:

Senior Resource has been engaged in an ongoing search for free and low-cost educational opportunities for senior citizens and lists the opportunities by state.

Experience Vs Educational Programs

Objective: to extend and expand educational opportunities for older persons. Description: The Bar-Ilan Brookdale Program in Applied Gerontology

The Annual Fredick County Elder Expo

The Elder Expo is a product of the Frederick County Elder Services Provider Council.  The ESPC is a coalition of community and government agencies, businesses, corporations and private individuals who have joined efforts to network and provide education to each other and the community at large.
  
UTC Continuing Education | Outreach Programs

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offers senior citizens in the Chattanooga area a unique opportunity to become involved in the intellectual, cultural, and active life of our community.

Older employees in the workforce:

Employees should be given the opportunity to acquire new skills. Increased education generally leads to expanded opportunities to use the new skills.

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Sports Specialization
PDF  High School Coaches Handbook
PDF   Schooling of Elite Skaters
Adult Recreation and Competitive Activities
Child Care Programs
Comparison of Athletes in Different Sports
Athlete Skill Progression
Retiree Mentoring Aspiring Athletes
The Elderhostel Experience

All materials are copy protected. 

The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.



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