Growing in mind and spirit in community Growing in mind and spirit in community

Once your working life is over, you can still continue to learn to keep your brain active and to fuel your curiosity.

 Advisor: Beatriz Peláez Mejía – Journalist

People over age 50 often sign up for groups to participate in leisure activities together. In addition to activities like yoga or art, however, there is now a growing trend to participate in academic programs that universities are offering to complement the field of knowledge they studied for their profession. This is due to the fact that a new generation of adults is arising that is known for being more intellectual, having more certified academic experience (with undergraduate and graduate degrees) and having extensive work experience. This generation wants to continue challenging their minds, as well as connect with others.

The general knowledge courses that universities offer are valuable for acquiring new information in different areas of knowledge. Arts and crafts classes are opportunities to create, express yourself, and develop your skills and abilities. Classes on spirituality help you reflect on how to live to be in balance with yourself, with others and with the world. “They give the person the tools to live better and to be accomplished, where the person can develop their inner self as well as their mind and spirit in order to give a new spark to life and give it new meaning at a time when perhaps other major goals have been achieved and the individual has more free time,” explains journalist Beatriz Peláez Mejía, director of the House of Happiness program at Pontifical Bolivarian University.

University courses and certificate programs for older adults are not only limited to class time, they often include going on excursions or trips so that students have the opportunity to expand and apply their knowledge outside the classroom. This allows older students to experience seeing life through the fun of learning.

These programs are also known for not having evaluations or assignments to measure the students’ skills, as at this stage in life, many of their goals have already been met, which is why these classes prioritize having fun over having obligations or meeting requirements. These programs are an additional motivation to stay active.

Other alternatives

In addition to expanding your knowledge in university classrooms, joining a group at the gym or doing any other physical activity, there are always other alternatives to have fun. Here are a few:

1. Be disciplined about doing hobbies such as crosswords or sudoku puzzles. Learn how to do a craft or watch a foreign film in its original language.

2. Spend more time with your family strengthening the relationship with your partner and children.

3. Join a theater group, a dance group or a choir.

4. Volunteer at hospitals, churches or other institutions, or with nonprofit social projects.

5. Give free classes that involve sharing your knowledge and experience.

6. Be a member of the local community action council of your neighborhood or residential complex.

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