They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but we don’t think that’s true at all. In fact, learning new things in our senior years can be fun and fulfilling, as well as being highly beneficial in a number of ways. If you want to learn a new skill, a language, or everything there is to know about a certain subject, then read on for some tips and the benefits of doing so.
The benefits of lifelong learning
Most of us finish formal education in our late teens or early twenties. But the learning doesn’t have to stop there. Lifelong learning involves continuous learning and personal development outside of formal education, whether that’s enrolling yourself in classes, learning how to cook new recipes online, or simply reading a lot or watching documentaries in your free time.
Lifelong learning has so many benefits, such as:
- Improve brain health – Research suggests that continuous learning and education can help to reduce risks of dementia and other neurological conditions in later life. We naturally lose neurons as we age, but an increase in lifelong cognitive activity can slow this down.
- Increase brain power – Keeping your brain active helps to form new neural pathways and strengthen existing ones, improving cognitive ability and memory. This is a good way to keep the mind sharp in later life.
- Work toward goals – Our careers offer a sense of fulfillment for us throughout our lives. Even if you don’t love your job, it still provides somewhat of a purpose. After retirement, pursuing skills and learning is another way to work toward goals and get a sense of fulfillment in your day-to-day life.
- Have fun – If you love cooking or reading, then pursuing these hobbies is a great way to have fun while learning new recipes or learning about a new topic. Learning doesn’t have to be a chore.
Tips for learning in later life
After retirement is a time where you can do what you want in your own time. So, the first tip about learning in your senior years is to learn about whatever you want. Find a subject that interests you, an instrument you’ve always wanted to play, or a language from a country that you love to visit. Make it about you and your own goals or interests, and learn at your own pace.
Learning in later life is also a good chance to socialize and meet new people. Look for local classes in your area or see what’s on offer in your community if you live in independent living or assisted living. Learning with others can make it easier to motivate yourself while enjoying the benefits of socializing. It can also make it easier to learn if you have a teacher, especially for skills like playing an instrument or learning a language.
At Bermuda Village, we run a Lifelong Learning Program affiliated with Wake Forest University, so there are plenty of opportunities for our residents to pursue their learning goals. Contact us to find out more.