Continuing Education for Seniors

Continuing Education for Seniors

time icon 5 min read update icon Nov. 26, 2019

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever." - Gandhi

Doesn't Gandhi say it all?  One of the hallmarks of aging well is maintaining cognitive function.  Use it or lose it!  And what better way to assure continued mental stimulation than to engage in continuing education? 

Where might one begin?  Well, this very minute you're sitting in front of the most revolutionary educational tool ever devised.   You have the world (dare I say the universe?) at your fingertips.

OK, so what's this thing in the picture and what does it have to do with all this? 

When I was a kid, I was fascinated with astronomy.  To this day, whenever I see an article on astronomy, I drop everything else and read it.  I hang out a lot on the Discovery Channel. 

Recently there was an article in the newspaper about some new findings on Jupiter's odd ball volcanic moon, Io.  After I'd thrown the paper away, I got an impulse to revisit the subject.  The picture, by the way, is a NASA photo of Io. 

Less than five minutes after being struck with that impulse, I had the NASA site covering Jupiter's moons before me on my computer screen - instant access to the known data about Io and Jupiter's other moons.  I trust Mahatma Gandhi signaled an approving nod wherever he may be.  

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, adults 55 years and older represent 54 million people, 20% of the total U.S. population and nearly one-third of the population 20 years and older.

Senior Americans also have financial clout. According to the American Banking Association, older adults own 77 percent of the country's financial assets and have $1.6 trillion in spending power.

Senior adults are also online - in fact, according to a recent Media Metrix report, the 55 years and older segment is the fastest growing Internet demographic group.

The Media Metrix Report shows that older adults (55+ years) now comprise 13 percent of total online users - outpacing 13- to 17 year olds who trail at 7.6 percent. The report also shows that the older online audience surf the Internet more frequently, stay there longer, and check out more Internet pages than even their teenage counterparts, thereby contradicting the widely held belief that seniors are technology laggards.

Many educational opportunities for Seniors can be found through the internet.  Listed here are some of the resources you'll find on the world wide web to assist seniors in pursuing continuing education. Each heading is clickable.

Elderhostel, Inc.

Elderhostel, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization with 25 years of experience providing high-quality, affordable, educational adventures for adults who are 55 and older. These short-term educational programs are a fun and exciting way for you to share new ideas, explore new places and make new friends.

Elderhostel Institute Network (EIN)

The Elderhostel Institute Network (EIN) is a voluntary association of over 260 independent Institutes for Learning in Retirement (ILRs) across the United States, Canada and Bermuda. EIN, in partnership with ILRs in college and university campuses across North America, share two goals: 1) To extend the ILR concept to new people and new campuses in new communities, and 2) To strengthen and support the effectiveness of established ILRs.

Senior Elderhostel Goes Intergenerational. Elderhostel for Children?!?

Long THE source for affordable senior citizen learning vacations, Elderhostel has, in the past few years, branched out to include programs for oldsters and youngsters who wish to vacation together.

Senior Summer School

Senior Summer School offers adventurous senior citizens an affordable opportunity to enhance their summer through education, leisure, and discovery, at campus locations across the U.S. and Canada.

Creative Writing For Seniors

Seniors will enjoy Dorothy Lynch informative and inspiring guide to becoming a writer in later life.


Nonprofit SeniorNet provides adults 50+ access to and education about computer technology and the Internet to enhance their lives and enable them to share their knowledge and wisdom. 

Denali Foundation Alaska

Elderhostel Programs provide an opportunity to see, study and experience the wildlife and natural history of the Denali Bioregion while learning from local Alaskan dog-mushers, mountain-climbers, photographers and artists. 

U.S. Department of Education

Growing Old in America: Learning English Literacy in the Later Years. 

Lifetime Education and Rewal Network (LEARN)

LEARN is a national community of professionals working to promote educational opportunities for today's older adults. Membership in LEARN makes it possible to interact with peers who are developing programs in an enormous variety of settings in this country and around the world.

Bob Knechtel - Contributor

Bob is a contributor with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.