After reading "Classes Geared to Older Adults" [November 5], I scanned the offerings at the three of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes in the San Francisco Bay area to see what I might have missed.
In our complex fiscal world, courses dealing with personal finances and wills have a very legitimate function. And for students who have raised families and are now faced with leisure time, learning knitting may be an important activity. However, olli at Sonoma State University, for instance, offers "a broad and exciting selection of university level courses, but with no exams and no grades . . . to acquire knowledge for its own sake." These courses help people 50 and over understand the challenging world. Program brochures of the three institutes where I teach have included the Rise and Fall of Jim Crow; Nation-Building: Myth and Reality; and Understanding Terrorism.
Jay Gurian, Ph.D.
Santa Rosa , Calif.
I have attended Elderhostels like those mentioned in "Classes Geared to Older Adults" for 20 years. It's true some are pricey, but there are many excellent locations to attend that are under $600. In today's economy, this is an outstanding buy and includes your room, meals, field trips, and guest lecturers. The catalogs from Elderhostel can be found at public libraries and at elderhostel.org.
Lenore H. Hinkle
Bridgeport , W.Va.