Mady Rubenstein of Syracuse, New York, wasn’t ready to retire when surgery forced her to leave her bookkeeping job. She hated the idea of having nothing to do, so when a friend told her about Oasis and the wide array of activities offered, she couldn’t wait to check it out. Before she knew it, she’d signed up for six classes and become a front desk volunteer at Upstate Oasis.
That was 14 years, 521 classes and three bouts of cancer ago. Today, Mady is cancer free and as busy as ever. She credits her survival in part to the classes and the community she found at Oasis.
“As I was going through chemo and other treatments, the classes gave me something to look forward to,” she explains. “It got me up and out of the house. If I was having a bad day, I’d go to class and I’d feel so much better.”
Research shows that Mady’s experience is just one of many benefits enjoyed through lifelong learning. “Several studies show the positive impact lifelong learning has on all aspects of health,” explains Sandra von Doetinchem, Program Specialist for Continuing Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Chair of LEARN Council of the American Society on Aging.
Mady, 79, agrees wholeheartedly. She takes about three classes a week.
“Oasis has filled my life,” she says. “I like taking classes on topics I know nothing about. I want to walk out knowing about something I would never have learned on my own.”
Her long list of class selections bears witness to a curious mind. From history classes about the presidents, global politics and ancient societies, to classes on travel, the science of natural disasters and classic Hollywood movies, Mady is amazed with the quality and variety of topics offered. “I am never disappointed,” she says. “Everything is so interesting, especially the other members in the classes!”