The Importance of Being Curious

August 12, 2016

An interesting person is a curious one who never stops asking questions and never stops learning.  For senior citizens who have spent a lifetime discovering new things, exploring the world around us, debating ideas, forming opinions, and experiencing much of what life has to offer – it is natural that learning should continue for as long as possible.

How do seniors find learning opportunities? For most of us, learning comes from listening to experts and applying knowledge on our own.  Gaining access to national experts is easier today than ever – through videos, books, podcasts, the popular Ted Talks, and internet-based courses as well as through traditional class rooms and lecture halls.

lifelong-learning-making-education-accessible-to-seniors-300x192For those interested in the traditional approach, many seniors turn to community colleges to take classes and even pursue degrees.  Most are looking to stay active or to have meaningful time with other seniors – but some seniors truly are interested in gaining new skills for a new job or career.  A recent article on “College Courses for Seniors” from A Place For Mom’s website takes a close look at some of these programs and how they serve seniors.

For those interested in “learning by doing,” there are countless workshops and adult education courses in diverse subjects such as jewelry making, learning to kayak, and conversational French (or Spanish, or Mandarin).  These can be local courses, or more national in nature through a larger university or organization such as The Road Scholar which combines travel with education designed for lifelong learnerss over age 50.

Retirement communities often include educational programming in their daily activities plan – and many of these are open to the public to enjoy.  At The Speter the greataybrook at Haddam, we were fortunate to have a local expert on Tsarist Russia, Professor Jared Day, host two lectures onsite.  The first was well attended by residents and friends curious about Peter the Great and how he influenced the cities and lifestyle of Russia. The second lecture, which is scheduled for August 22, will focus on the downfall of Tsarist Russia.  Residents appreciate having knowledgeable and entertaining speakers such as Professor Day bring college-level lectures to their community.

Another learning experience taking place at The Saybrook at Haddam is the Great Courses video lecture series on Judaism.  This 10-week course features Dr. Isaiah M. Gafni of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who has taught for more than 40 years. He has also been a visiting professor at numerous American universities including Harvard, Yale, and Brown, and has written or edited more than 15 books on Jewish history.  Imagine spending time with and learning from this professor without having to travel across the globe!

Learning opportunities for seniors (and for everyone, really) surround us – giving us countless chances to ask questions, uncover new passions, and keep our minds sharp.  Let us know your favorite lifelong learning experience – and your future plans for staying curious.  Perhaps your input may spark an idea for future programming at The Saybrook at Haddam!


Private tours of The Saybrook at Haddam are available by contacting David Downey or by calling 860-345-3779.  Please visit our Facebook page for information on upcoming educational events.

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