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Back to School at 65: How Lifelong Learning Leads to Healthy Aging

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You don’t have to dig very deep in the news to read that staying active and keeping your brain sharp can help improve our mental and physical health as we age. Many seniors in retirement communities are accomplishing both through lifelong learning.

Our retirement years can take on richer meaning when we engage in lifelong learning activities, which can include continuing education courses or more informal outlets for learning like lectures or book clubs. Even playing fun “brain games” can serve to enhance our brainpower as we get older.

Here are some of the top reasons to embrace lifelong learning:

Learning improves brain health

The brain is a network made up of millions of neural connections, and as we age, these connections can weaken. However, when we learn something new, our brains develop new pathways and strengthen old ones. Just as you exercise your body to maintain good health, it’s important to “exercise” your brain to keep your cognitive skills sharp. When we keep our brains active with new challenges, information, and experiences, we may also lower the risk for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. This is all the more reason to engage in learning throughout our lives.

Learning fuels itself

Lifelong learning feeds our minds and drives us to learn more. One of the top benefits of retirement is that we have more time to explore the topics that interest us, such as history, current events, politics, music, literature, and technology. These might be subjects that never intersected with our work or family lives, so we didn’t have time to learn about them. Pick a subject you’re curious about and dive in; you might find that the more you learn, the more you desire to keep learning.

Learning is fun

Learning doesn’t necessarily have to be academic in nature. For example, many retirees take up a creative hobby such as drawing, painting, knitting, or playing music. Others might learn to play a new sport such as shuffleboard, bocce, or pickleball. Or, maybe it’s a fun game like bridge or Mahjong. Best of all, each of these activities can be an opportunity to socialize and make new friends.

Retirement communities make it easier

Some people may shy away from lifelong learning, whether it’s due to a lack of time or the fear of trying something new. Fortunately, retirement communities like Bethany Village make it easy for older adults to branch out and reap the benefits of learning every single day.

At Bethany Village, opportunities to embrace learning abound. With lectures, classes, and clubs ranging from art and history to creative writing to computer and social media skills and much more, there is something for every lifelong learner at Bethany Village. Here, we encourage residents to embrace learning and explore their interests and passions. After all, our retirement years are meant to be enjoyed!

Written by Bethany Village

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