Delia Visscher, 84, is ready to hit the books at SFU this fall

It's never too late to learn — and 84-year-old Delia Visscher is proof of that. The Vancouver senior is one of many older adults who are getting ready to go back to university this fall.

Growing number of students are signing up for the university's 55+ program

Delia Visscher, 84, plans to study at SFU this fall. (SFU)

It's never too late to learn — and 84-year-old Delia Visscher is proof of that. The Vancouver senior is one of many older adults who are getting ready to go back to university this fall.

"I'm going to go back to take a course on Socrates and Aristotle," said Visscher, who is enrolled in Simon Fraser University's 55+ program.

It will be the 43rd course she's taken at SFU since she returned to school nearly 20 years ago.

The university says its liberal arts program, which offers six-session courses for $110, has been growing in popularity. 

More than 3,070 people have registered for classes this year. In the past five years there's been a 15 per cent increase in enrolment, said Charles Carroll, the coordinator of the program. 

Courses are available on everything from space flight to music and poetry. 

"It's the chance for people to study for the love of learning," he said, adding the program appeals to people who may have spent most of their life working in one area despite having interests elsewhere.

Healthy minds

Education is also a way to keep feeling vital and alive, Carroll said.

Visscher, who earned her first degree from Columbia University in New York in 1971, agreed. Her husband has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and he's part of the reason she wants to stay in shape physically and mentally.

"If I don't take care of myself, I can't very well be there for him," she said. 

"You have to keep learning," Visscher said. "I mean, where are you without getting knowledge and finding out the latest things?"

With files from Alexandra Gibb


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