Osher Lifelong Learning

One Way to Keep Active and Healthy
by Natalie Lecher

Older adults are busy redefining how life beyond 50 is to be lived and lifelong learning is a national phenomenon. For the past five years, someone in America has turned 65 every eight seconds. The U.S. Office of Financial Management’s November 2013 Population Forecast demonstrated that the population of Washington State adults, aged 65 and older, doubled between 1980 and 2010 and is projected to double again by 2040.

Lifelong learning is one of the ways older adults are keeping active and healthy. UW Associate Professor and M.D. Dr. Barak Gaster commented, “A number of studies indicate that maintaining strong social connections and keeping mentally active as we age might lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. A program like OLLI-UW provides a chance for you to stimulate your brain in new and different ways which, as we are discovering, may be important to keeping your mind strong and healthy.” 

OLLI-UW (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the UW) is one of 122 different Osher Institutes throughout the nation that provides lifelong learning to people over 50 years of age. OLLI-UW offers short, academic programming to people over 50 years of age throughout the Puget Sound area. Currently, we offer seven lecture series’, ten summer field trips and over 60 courses a year. This past summer we enjoyed field trips at UW sites (UW Chamber Dance Company, UW Applied Physics Lab and UW Center for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound Tour) and Seattle sites including the Seattle Chinese Garden and the SAM, Frye, Nordic and Wing Luke Museums. All with no homework for students or grades for instructors!

This program is a wonderful opportunity for the UW to share the vast amount of knowledge and research with our community. We offer programming at the UW and in the community including sites in Everett, Mukilteo, Redmond, Issaquah, Mercer Island, and downtown Seattle. Some examples of programming include:

  • Museum Masterpieces
  • Contemporary Ethics
  • Our Sun
  • Keys to Understanding Mexico
  • Geology of National Parks
  • Bitcoin and Blockchain 101
  • Women’s Suffrage Movement in the U.S.

Here at the UW, we offer the chance to keep your brain active, through both lectures and peer discussions. Some students have said:

  • “Education never ends and OLLI-UW makes it easy and possible.”
  • “Thank you for this program; it definitely enriches my life!”
  • “The quality of the programs I have taken has been excellent.”
  • “The instructors are great.”

We are proud to be offering these wonderful opportunities to learn for the fun of learning!

Natalie Lecher is Assistant Director, Academic Programs, UW Continuum College.

Lifetime Learning Links