Seniors living at La Posada, a premier life care community in Palm Beach Gardens, crave intellectual stimulation and seek ways to expand their minds each and every day. Thanks to the Jupiter Lifelong Learning Society, a group of La Posada residents participates in Lifelong Learning courses offered by Florida Atlantic University and proves that learning at any age is an important endeavor. After 15 years of taking courses, Ben and Ruth Nachbar and Harriet Schwarz all agree their favorite class is easily Professor Jeffrey Morton’s Foreign Affairs course, though they have dabbled in several other interesting subjects. La Posada also welcomes guest lecturers from Nova Southeastern University to the senior living community on the second Thursday of the month at 11:00 a.m. As the residents at La Posada broaden their own education, they encourage others to do the same.
“Professor Morton’s class is offered three times a day, once in the morning, midday and again in the evening,” said Ben. “On the first day that the course opens for registration, all three fill up. Each class holds 500 people, and to accommodate more people beyond the 500 there is an annex for those who registered too late. Ruth and I particularly enjoy this course because we find it so fascinating to know what is going on in other parts of the world. The lecture series is based on a syllabus created by the Foreign Policy Association, which is associated with Lifelong Learning programs all over the country. So far, the current course has covered Russia, Egypt, Haiti and South Africa. Professor Morton delivers an in-depth lecture on each country covering the history, economy, culture, politics and the challenges facing American Foreign Policy.”
“This course is eye-opening and shows us what is going on in the rest of the world,” said Ruth. “We feel better informed after attending a lecture, and could have never imagined some of the things we learned are really happening in the world. On the way home, we chat about the lecture, often commenting that it was better than the last, and we carry this information with us and bring it up when we visit with our neighbors at dinner or with our families. We also enjoy the current events discussions that are held at La Posada by a fellow resident, as well as the guest lecturers who visit on Thursdays. It is very fulfilling to stay current and absorb new information. Even though we are technically retired, we believe in continuing to participate in courses like this which expand our minds.”
In addition to the foreign affairs course, the Nachbars are enrolled in a course covering current Supreme Court issues. It is an eight-week series, but there are many one-time classes which you can enroll in during the day or evening. Other classes cover topics ranging from jazz groups, historical accounts, movies, literature, art and more. While professors lead a majority of the classes, well-known guests will make an appearance to share an experience, deliver a presentation or lead a discussion. Madeline Albright, the secretary of state for the Clinton administration, recently visited for a one-day course. Another fascinating class was led by an American, Alan Gross, who was held prisoner for five years in Cuba. He was freed when President Obama facilitated new relations with Cuba, and he spoke of his experience.
“There’s a course for everyone, as the Jupiter Lifelong Learning Society does an excellent job of ensuring that they are meeting the interests of those who enroll in the classes,” said Schwarz. “Currently, I am involved a political satire class, and I recently completed a class on comparative religion. I really enjoy the courses that cover movies, and it’s nice when the professors are able to interject some humor into their lesson plans. I have been a part of the Lifelong Learning courses since they were first established. I love the environment they have created – it’s a welcoming atmosphere in which everyone yearns for knowledge. The courses, lectures and educational opportunities add so much depth to my life; a very important dimension without which I would not be able to flourish the way I do in my retirement. I don’t know what I would do in my free time if I didn’t have access to these outlets which enable me to learn. I am a very structured person, so having the courses, bridge games and other social events on my calendar makes me feel purposeful and active.”
Schwarz delights in taking courses which are similar to what her grandchildren are taking at the universities they are enrolled in. In a previous semester, Schwarz found out that her granddaughter signed up for an archeology class, so she enrolled in a similar Lifelong Learning course so the two could compare notes about what they were learning in their respective classes. In addition to these courses, Schwarz also attends a current events discussion led by a fellow resident at La Posada, and she reads two different newspapers every morning so that she is knowledgeable with what’s going on in her city and the rest of the world. Schwarz spent much of her life serving as a mental health counselor and a school psychologist, so the courses are very important to her as they make her feel connected to the university and give her new purpose.
“We are happy to provide opportunities for learning and engagement for residents living at La Posada,” said Brad Cadiere, executive director of La Posada. “We arrange for transportation to the coveted Foreign Affairs course, support the resident-led current affairs discussion group, and plan a variety of other educational and cultural experiences for residents to enjoy both at the community and off-site. Our guest lecturers from Nova Southeastern University also create exceptional learning opportunities for residents who cannot attend the Lifelong Learning courses. In addition to the lecturers, we recently welcomed three guest speakers as part of The Art of Living Well Speaker Series, including Carl Bernstein, Henry Winkler and Rick Steves. La Posada values presenting its residents and special guests with remarkable opportunities to learn, share experiences and enjoy incredible events. It is inspiring to see residents so dedicated to continuing their education and exposing themselves to thought provoking courses which enrich their lives.”