Dear Estelle. With retirement approaching, we are contemplating how to spend our time most productively. My plan is to decrease my work commitment to half time this January and retire completely next June. We plan to travel, spend quality time with our grandkids, play bridge with friends, and mentor high-risk students. Although I intend to be physically active (I walk every morning) my main concern is keeping my brain mentally active. A year ago you wrote about educational opportunities for the “older adult.” Could you review what those options were and how we can access them starting this spring? LM. Denver
“The baby boomers are turning 60 with the realization that they have skills, capabilities, energy, 25 years of good health in front of them and they’re wondering what to do,” states Michael Markowitz, director of the Institute for Retired Professionals, a consortium of 400 institutes around the US which provide “college-like” opportunities for the older adult, typically aged 55 plus. Although there is occasional homework, there are no tests. And the course titles are tantalizing! Frequently taught by retired professors or experts in a specific field, they are noncompetitive and provide wonderful opportunities for people who have been tied to careers that frequently left little time for intellectual pursuits. If you’ve wished you could go back to college, now is the time. Several first-rate opportunities exist in the Denver area, the VIVA program which meets in Cherry Creek and The Academy for Life Long Learning located in a church on Hampden and Colorado Blvd which calls itself “The Athletic Club for The Mind.” Its fall semester will end shortly but a new catalog has recently been published (www.AcademyLL.org ) with numerous offerings for spring semester. With semi-retirement pending, spending a few hours per week in class will provide a stimulating start to your new career of retirement.