So, why is it important to be a lifelong learner? Jill Weeks, retirement author of 21 Ways to Retire, Where to Retire in Australia and Retire Buzzi, understands the importance of lifelong learning; she says people who embrace learning later life report:
- Enhanced mental stimulation and focus;
- Meeting new people and enjoying new experiences;
- Adding structure to daily life;
- Meeting people of all ages;
- A sense of achievement; and
- Ability to look forward.
Weeks says the most inspirational learner she’s interviewed is Dr. Allan Stewart, OAM. “Dr. Stewart, who at the time was the world’s oldest graduate, is an inspiration to many.”
“I interviewed Dr. Stewart when he had graduated with his fourth degree at the age of 97. Allan went back to university many times after retiring from being a dentist. In his ‘retirement’ he completed a law degree and later went on to graduate with a Masters of Clinical Science in Complementary Medicine,” she says.
“I asked him why he went back to university: he said that he had ‘ample time, he believes in mental exercise as a health measure, plus he had a 70-year-old daughter doing a degree course’ at the time.”
“How did the other students and lecturers treat him? He said he was ‘virtually just another student’. He keeps an active schedule and probably won’t go back to university, but ‘you never know’. Allan said his activities include gardening, cooking, playing bridge and interaction with family, friends and the community,” reports Weeks.
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