Have Fun and Beat High Gas Prices



“You don’t have to drive very far, or spend much money on gas, to keep physically, mentally and spiritually fit,” says Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of “Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years” (Sentient Publications: ISBN: 1-59181-047-7). “Just join what I call a “body, mind, and spirit health club,” she says. For older adults, as well as the 78 million Baby Boomers looking for ways to enjoy a more active and healthy retirement on a budget, this is good news.

Local lifelong learning programs – a new kind of health club for the body, mind and spirit – can be found in almost every community, enabling older adults on fixed incomes to beat the high price of gas while still adding value to their later years.

The movement is exploding as people look for ways to learn, have fun, and stay active, closer to home. Programs have been developed at local colleges and universities, at active adult retirement communities, continuing care facilities, and at senior centers throughout the country. New ones are starting all the time. Programs are open to anyone, regardless of previous academic history. They offer a nice mix of non-credit, personal enrichment, and hands-on courses, as well as social activities of all types.

What makes them different, however, from community or adult education programs, Nordstrom says, is that “people “join” these programs and pay a low membership fee. This fosters a sense of “ownership” and commitment among members. A strong volunteer aspect and a real feeling of community are also hallmarks of such programs.”

She goes on to say that, “programs are run and attended by local people who commute, keeping the cost of gas to a minimum. They participate regularly year after year and get to know one another as friends, co-volunteers and classmates.”

“Each lifelong learning program is unique and there are variables within each program, depending on how they are set-up. Academic study, travel/study, membership activities, community outreach, public relations–all are developed and expanded by direct member input and decision-making,” says Nordstrom.As Jim, one member of a program in upstate New York says, “After I was down-sized and decided to retire, I wondered how I was going to fill my time. Now, after joining my local program, I’m wondering how I can find the time to fit in everything I want to do.”

So save gas money while keeping physically, mentally and spiritually fit by joining a program near you. For more information on lifelong learning visit www.learninglater.com Or, go to www.elderhostel.org/ein/intro.asp and click on FIND A LIFELONG LEARNING INSTITUTE. You can also call your local community college or university and ask if they have a program for older adults. Many of them do.


About Nancy Merz

Author, consultant, and speaker, Nancy Merz Nordstrom is an expert on the concept, benefits and opportunities of lifelong learning for older adults, and how keeping minds challenged can enrich and enhance our After-50 years. For more information on the concept, benefits and opportunities of lifelong learning for older adults please visit www.learninglater.com.

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