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Aging Resources WNC

Local Entities Offering Lifelong Learning Opportunities

As people live longer, growing older means we often can continue to thrive and enjoy life for many more decades than previous generations experienced.

In the United States, the average life expectancy is about 75 years for men and 80 years for women. More people are living to be 85 years old and older and the number of Americans living to be 100 or older continues to climb.

With more good years – and even decades – ahead, we have the opportunity to continue to learn new things, stay physically active and be socially engaged. And such life enrichment helps us remain healthy and productive in our elder years.

Lifelong learning and life enrichment feeds and nurtures our physical, intellectual, social and spiritual wellness. Here in Western North Carolina, several institutions offer high-quality, life-enhancing programs for older adults. By their very nature, all of these programs offer opportunities for socialization, volunteering, community building, life planning and networking. They can broaden your world, open your mind to new possibilities for your life and ensure your upcoming years are rich and meaningful.

Blue Ridge Center for Lifelong Learning (BRCLL)

(828) 694-1740 | BRCLL.COM

Located on Blue Ridge Community College’s Flat Rock campus, Blue Ridge Center for Lifelong Learning offers a full slate of enrichment and educational programming. Participants can select from courses on a wide variety of topics including US, international and Appalachian history, current affairs, technology, literature and more. The program also hosts occasional brown bag lunches on various topics and has launched a new series called “For Your Health” which brings in various medical professionals to discuss topics related to healthy aging. There is a one-time lifetime membership fee to receive a catalog of classes three times a year.


(828) 227-7397 | LIFE.WCU.EDU

A program of Western Carolina University, the mission of LIFE@Western is to establish a community of lifelong learners age 50 and older by offering participant-determined topics of interest that promote learning and community-university engagement. 



A nationally acclaimed learning community for older adults, the Osher Lifelong Learning Center at UNC Asheville offers opportunities for lifelong learning, leadership, community service and continued growth in a variety of settings. Founded in 1988 as the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement, OLLI’s programming includes intellectual and cultural pursuits as well as social, physical and practical life courses such as life transition and retirement relocation planning, including its Creative Retirement Exploration Weekend (CREW). OLLI’s College for Seniors (CFS) program offers more than 350 courses in four terms every year, including some online programs.

Aging Resources Magazine 2023-2024