I have just completed my FutureLearn course on ‘Strategies For Successful Ageing’ and am the proud owner of an achievement certificate. I have written before about FutureLearn, the free online academic course platform. FutureLearn has something from everyone and I can personally vouch for its high standards.
My course was run by the University of Dublin’s Trinity College where they have a department dedicated to gerontology. Each module of the course comprised a number of short, attention-holding tutorials – sometimes a video, sometimes a short lecture, sometimes an article to read. The course was also peppered with personal exercises which encouraged one to deeply reflect on one’s own lifestyle and attitudes to ageing. It was also inspirational in many ways, showing how one can be very much in control of one’s own destiny and giving many hopeful messages about ageing. I was cautious at first about the (optional) online discussion with other participants but I soon opened up to it, enjoying the interesting, friendly, funny and wise comments of people from all around the world.
Strategies For Successful Ageing concentrated on ‘inputs rather than outputs’ .. ie on the choices we can all make about our lifestyle and thinking, rather on the impact on us of external events. Though the course was very broad it condensed successful ageing down to three components :
- Managing your health – including physical, diet, mental, brain, and wellbeing
- Staying involved in your community – being social engaged
- Focusing on personal development as we age – opportunities for creativity, innovation and learning
One aspect of health is brain health and challenging our mental capacities, learning new skills, and exercising our intellect is hugely important to ageing well. Taking one of the many online courses offered by FutureLearn and other organisations is one way to access an enjoyable, and actually quite sociable, resource.