The working days may be long gone, but that doesn’t mean school is out for all older adults.
At retirement residence Delmanor Wynford, near the Don Valley Parkway and Eglinton Avenue East, many residents are taking a university course on how to understand fine art.
“Our residents are very savvy and well informed,” remarked Pam Palmer, marketing and community relations manager.
Earlier this year, Delmanor Wynford held its first art exhibit to display works in oil, acrylic, water colour, ink and charcoal by 15 residents.
Other programs and events to engage residents include in-house ballet and bridge tournaments and excursions to Ripley’s Aquarium. Last summer a daring Delmanor Northtown resident marked her 90th birthday by conquering the CN Tower’s Edge Walk, footage of which was aired on TV news.
At the Central Eglinton Community Centre, older-adult program coordinator Sherri Bulmer says 50+ programming features courses and activities such as computer classes, zumba, health and wellness, and creative writing.
“It keeps our minds active,” Bulmer said. “It shows us new opportunities that life has to offer, and learning is not just about the end result but the process.”
Depending on the material or content, she said, there are many ways the centre is adapting the courses for an older generation.
For those who didn’t grow up with computers, instruction focuses on basics, not taking for granted what comes naturally to those used to technology.
“Discussions are a very important part of teaching, so not just a lecture, because all of them have had different life history and experiences that they can share and often good, valid points that perhaps the instructor never thought of,” she said.
Ways to keep learning:
Got an acting bug? The Estelle Craig Act II Studio, part of The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education’s Programs for 50+ at Ryerson University, is a theatre and creative drama centre that provides training and performance opportunities. Course selection includes acting, improvisation, playwriting and clowning.
Passionate about the arts? The LIFE (Learning Is For Ever) Institute is a membership-based not-for-profit, which offers peer-led study groups and lecture classes in the arts, humanities, sciences, technology and contemporary issues, also based at Ryerson University.
Interested in a variety? The Academy for Lifelong Learning at the University of Toronto campus offers a wide selection of workshops, from jazz appreciation, contemporary films and British history to art in modern America, documentary film and a study of contemporary and ancient plays.
The Baycrest Learning Academy on Bathurst Street has an ongoing program aimed at providing enhanced learning opportunities for seniors 60+. Current courses include The History of Jazz: From New Orleans to New York and The Wisdoms of Body Mind and Soul: A Journey Across Cultures and Time.
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