When it comes to supporting healthy aging, an active mind is just as important as an active body. Numerous studies have found that learning is valuable at all stages of life, helping to improve one’s cognitive skills, social connections, and overall quality of life. Here’s a closer look at some of the most powerful benefits of lifelong learning for older adults.
Improve cognitive functioning
The very act of learning new skills and engaging in challenging mental activities is known to help slow the rate of age-related cognitive decline in older adults. This is because the process of learning activates neurons in the brain, allowing more new neural pathways to develop and replace connections that are lost over time. Many seniors enjoy staying sharp with fun, mentally stimulating activities such as solving puzzles and playing cards or board games to promote healthy cognitive functioning.
Opportunities to pursue interests and passions
Not only does lifelong learning boost cognitive function, but it also gives older adults the opportunity to pursue their interests in retirement. For example, some older adults learn a new skill by trying a hobby or craft such as drawing, painting, knitting, or playing music. Many retirement communities also offer enriching educational opportunities and activities for residents, including continuing education classes or lectures with topics ranging from technology to history to art. From fun, creative hobbies to interesting continuing education classes and courses, there are countless ways for seniors to embrace lifelong learning and pursue their passions throughout retirement.
Form social connections
Learning is often a social experience, and taking a continuing education course or trying a hobby in a group setting gives seniors the chance to engage with others and form social bonds while learning new skills. Learning in a social environment also helps us build strong connections and relationships with others, which is especially important for older adults who may be prone to isolation or loneliness. In this way, lifelong learning can make a meaningful difference in the overall well being of older adults.