The face of education has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This school year, many students are going to school virtually – either part-time or full-time, depending on the school system and geographic area. And this new emphasis on online education isn’t only limited to school-age children. The variety of online classes available to the general public has grown exponentially due to social distancing requirements. These days, you can find an online class on practically any subject matter, from gardening to languages, and everything in between.

The availability of online learning is particularly beneficial to older adults. Seniors who may be physically limited due to being in a high-risk category for COVID-19 or for other health reasons, can take classes on their computers without ever leaving their homes. This not only allows them to interact with others remotely, but also helps them to keep their minds sharp, stimulated and focused. And when you take an online course with a spouse or friend, you can study and discuss the material together even when you’re not “in the classroom.” Those who are retired have the chance now to learn things that they never had the time for during the working years. For example, if you always wanted to learn a foreign language, now is the perfect time to do so without distraction.

While there are literally thousands of online classes available, you can get inspired with some ideas by checking out the website FrugalForLess, which has compiled a list of 22 Free Online Courses for Senior Citizens. These classes include topics on finance, technology, health and fitness, nutrition, art, music, and history.

Here are some other sources you can consider when searching for online courses:

  • The website Coursera, and others like it, offer free college-level courses on subjects like psychology, animal behavior, languages and many others. The website’s partners include University of Pennsylvania and Yale. Other free online course clearinghouses include FutureLearn, Skillshare, OpenLearn, and Kahn Academy.
  • AARP has a guide to lifelong learning.
  • Check with your local library to see if they offer senior citizen programming.
  • Check with your city recreation department – many offer courses for senior citizens.
  • Check with your local community college or other colleges in your area. Some offer free or discounted online courses for senior citizens.
  • The website Udemy offers 150,000 online video courses on practically any topic from all over the world, with new ones constantly added. Course prices range from a few dollars to over $100.

Remember, you’re never too old to learn something new. In fact, learning new things is one of the best ways to grow as a person, not just intellectually, but socially and spiritually as well. So this October put your thinking cap on and head on back to school!