The pursuit of knowledge: 73-year-old Chartwell resident enrolls in online class

Most college students fall into a similar demographic: 18-35-year-olds who attend classes so they can earn a degree and land a job when they graduate. However, lately there have been more and more reports of seniors returning to school just for the sake of continuous learning.

Recently, 99-year-old Doreetha Daniels earned her associate's degree in social sciences, while 85-year-old Willadene Zedan earned her bachelor's. Both individuals are accomplishing their educational goals during their retirement years, and serve as inspiration to us all.  Joining the expanding list of "senior students" in the age of online classes and access to greater resources is Chartwell Cedarbrooke's Sue Adair. At the age of 73, Adair has been taking a variety of classes – both online and in person – to further her knowledge.

Online classes can be taken at any age.
Online classes can be taken at any age.

The eternal student
Adair is a very active and energetic woman with a passion for lifelong learning. She's taking Spanish classes and attending bible study—both courses offered by Chartwell Cedarbrooke's programs department—in addition to law classes. Adair doesn't partake in these activities for a degree or to jumpstart a career; rather, she attributes her studies to her general curiosity – a trait that has fueled her passion for life since she was very young.

"I've had this goal to pursue an education since I was eight years old," says Adair. "I don't want to have any regrets or to look back on this opportunity and say, 'I wish I had done that.'"

Her law class, which is specific to tort law, is held online. Adair ranks her computer skills as medium, and regularly surfs the web for news, social updates and environmental research.

"I'm constantly emailing, checking Facebook and Twitter, and following politicians to stay up to date with what's going on in the world," she says. "I go online every day!"

"Learning is just one of her many interests."

Advantages of staying active
Surfing online and participating in learning opportunities are just two of the many activities that Adair does on a daily basis. She's an avid member of the residence's drama club and loves to knit, paint and spin her own wool. She also grows her own ginger and garlic. She's extremely self-sufficient, and believes that all of it helps her to stay sharp and independent as she ages.

"Learning and socialization are key when you get older," she says. "There is a lot of free time during retirement."

Adding to her list of hobbies and interests are kayaking, gardening, photography and swimming, and she'll likely add more as time goes on.

"You don't know you like something until you try it!" she says happily.

To learn what programs and activities are on the agenda at Chartwell Retirement Residences, click here to view a sample activity calendar.