Fall means back to school for kids and young adults. But hundreds of programs in the Southland are open to seniors, too. And relatives who are concerned about keeping their elders healthy —mentally and physically — should encourage them to participate. Research indicates that as long as people stimulate their brains by learning and trying new things, intellectual growth continues, even at an advanced age.
The easiest courses to drop into are held at senior and community centers, often sponsored by city recreation departments. Many are free or low-cost.
--City of Los Angeles Senior Centers: dial 311 from within city limits, http://www.laparks.org/contact.htm.
--Los Angeles County Community and Senior Services: (800) 510-2020; css.lacounty.gov/.
--Senior and Community Centers in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties: http://www.vitalco.net/Senior.htm.
-- California Department of Education: Hundreds of adult schools are listed in the California Adult Education Provider Directory, (916) 322-2175, http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ae/ds/.
--Elder Hostel: This venerable nonprofit vacation program, found in 1975, was renamed Road Scholar last year, 800 454-5768, http://www.roadscholar.org. It offers nearly 8,000 educational tours in all 50 states and more than 90 countries. Many tours are less than $600 per person.
-- Rosemary McClure