Q: I graduated with a bachelor’s degree more than 40 years ago. I had a very satisfying career prior to retirement. For a long time I have pondered about going back to school to further my education. No one who has heard me say this has given me any encouragement. The general comment is I am too old and it would be a waste of money. My adult children even laughed at me which is frustrating because I always encouraged them in all their endeavors. Am I being totally unrealistic about wanting to pursue this?
A: It might come as a surprise to learn in many colleges and universities across the United States, adult students are now the majority of those seeking a degree. This includes individuals who are working for a company which offer financial incentives for additional education in their field, mothers who have raised their children and now have the opportunity to focus on their own interests, retirees who have had a lifelong passion, and those who were unable to finish school when they were younger. Sometimes this is a personal goal and has nothing to do with financial gain.
As a parent you may very well have instilled in your children to follow their dreams. Why shouldn’t you! There are several things for you to consider. Can you afford the tuition without jeopardizing your long-term financial well being? Do you have the physical stamina to go to school full time or would part time be more realistic?
Life expectancy has increased over the last century. Some people look forward to retirement once they hit that magic age of 65 while others have no intention of leaving the workforce. Older individuals have a lifetime of experience and have a lot to offer both professionally and personally. It is important to continue to focus on the positives of aging and eliminate the stigma associated with aging. A quote associated with Abraham Lincoln, but not authenticated, is: “It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.”
Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our staff is available for a no-cost consultation, set up at your convenience, to help guide you through your caregiving experience. For more details or to schedule an appointment, please call 800-892-0890.
Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Please direct your correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org or Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., Age Information Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the CEO of Elder Services.