Serious and Not-So-Serious Classes for Retirees and Older Adults


If you’ve found that you finally have some extra time, consider trying something new, or maybe becoming proficient in that area you’ve always dreamed about. But you may be wondering what’s available, what you might like, where to begin, and if it’s worth it all.

Why should you continue your education?

First, it’s worth it. Continuing your education and seeking out new experiences is critical to healthful aging. According to Anthem Home Care, continuing your education helps increase:

  • Cognitive functioning, especially an increase in memory skills.
  • Physical and mental health – lower rates of depression and anxiety, as well as the reduction in occurrence of many chronic health conditions. Reading can lower your heart rate, regulate your blood pressure and reduce muscle tension, while improve your cardiovascular health and immune system. Wow!
  • Socialization – improving wellbeing by reducing isolation.

Would you like to be exposed to new ideas and discussions? Gain creative skills? Learn about business or build a new expertise? Explore it all – from one session to a multi-part class or series. Build a selection and schedule, though, that’s based on the time you can give and the interests you really have. Dip a toe or take the plunge, at whatever pace you decide is best for you!

Want to find free or cheap college courses for older adults?

After age 60 you may take classes from the regular curriculum of many universities at no charge. In most cases, your admittance is on a space-available basis with instructor approval, and you earn no credits. But the educational value is still the same!

Options at local universities

Program 60 at the University of Toledo

If you’ve lived in Ohio for the past 12 months and are 60 years of age or better, you can enroll in any undergraduate classes (except independent study courses, studio art courses, private music lessons or other similar courses). Study math, a foreign language, accounting or other courses.  Fees based on specific class requirements, such as materials, books and other items.

SAGE Program at Bowling Green State University 

Study any credit course you’d like, subject to space availability and instructor approval. Some classes are not included, such as trips (study abroad, etc.), individual music lessons, aviation courses and ROTC.   No class fee, but associated fees (such as books, fees and other supplies) apply. The University’s Firelands campus offers the ElderCollege program for adults aged 50 and over.

Lifelong Learning, Lourdes University 

Classes range from one-day to multi-week courses (including classes in politics and economics in China, tips for using a camera or cell phone for photography, sports in college today and Toledo in automotive history). Some are held online while others are on campus. No fee for most programs.

Owens College Workforce & Community Services 

Explore classes in personal enrichment, professional development, computer classes and hobbies. Classes have individual fees.

Penta Career Center 

Find fast, fun, convenient and affordable classes, from Spanish and Sign Language, WordPress websites, business budgeting and communications, online marketing, etc. Classes have individual fees.

Selections from around the world

Drop in on university classes from around the world or learn about topics from those who are acclaimed in their fields.

One Day University features popular speakers nationwide with engaging, informative talks. Select live-streamed talks, Q&A with professors, video library or multi-part courses. Live presentations are also offered (including in Detroit in October). Fee $8.95 per month.

MasterClass presents the world’s best in all topics from arts to sports and wellness. More than 100 classes, including cooking from the French Laundry’s Thomas Keller and violin from Itzhak Perlman. Fee $15.00 per month (billed annually)

TED Talks offers more than 3,700 talks about every imaginable topic, available to anyone with a computer. Pick a topic and learn about something new. No fee.

Want some hands-on experience?

Check your local Senior Center

Most area senior centers have re-opened following COVID-19, and offer classes in computer basics, effective use of social media, photography, proficiency in Microsoft Word and other systems. Check your nearest Senior Center for their schedules and offerings. Some classes are fee-based.

Art classes for retirees

577 Foundation – classes in a wide range of categories, including fiber arts, herbalist arts, meditation and mindfulness, painting and drawing, pottery, yoga. Fees.

Handmade Toledo – learn creative arts such as mixed media, watercolor, calligraphy, drawing and even dance! Fees.

Toledo Botanical Garden’s Artisan Village –  include the Toledo Artists Club, Toledo Stained Glass Guild, Photo Arts Club of Toledo, Toledo Potters Guild, Unruly Arts, Toledo Area Glass Guild, Branching Out Studio, Hands On Teaching Studio, Maumee Valley Herb Society and Black Swamp Hosta and Daylily Society. Check with each for their class schedules. Fees.

Toledo Museum of Art – offers classes for every experience level and schedule, and designs courses relative to works of art in the collection. Fees.

Toledo Zoo – presents a garden workshop class series each year. Check what’s available this season. Fees.

Learn how to Zentangle – creating art from structured patterns in an easy, relaxing method – online from the creator of the program. Free and fee-based.

We have a wide variety of talented artists in this area who provide training in every type of art imaginable. Galleries, art stores and individuals can help you learn painting and drawing; working with pottery, glass, wood, fabric and even letterpress; and building your cooking and baking muscles. 

Check out this list for even more class locations in the region. 

Writing classes for older adults 

Want to write that novel? NaNoRiMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a fun, online approach to creative writing. Sign up to write 50,000 words (or so) during November or go to “Camp” every April and July and set your own creative goals. No fee but donations are welcome.

Want a long-term learning project?

Work in nature

Have a more long-term commitment in mind? The Ohio State University Extension programs train you to work in nature. The Ohio Certified Naturalist Program and the Ohio Master Gardener Program require training plus volunteer time in the community. Contact Amy Stone at for the current Lucas County schedule.

Become an Art Docent

Learn about the beautiful and extensive collection at the Toledo Museum of Art and how to lead tours as an Art Docent. Classes are held every few years (a class is currently underway) and run for 15 months. Contact Alison Santoro ( at the Museum about upcoming classes.