You may not be in school anymore, or have even set foot in a classroom in many years, but it’s never too late to learn something new. In fact, there’s growing research that says seniors should always be putting effort into intellectual pursuits.
The cognitive benefits of exercising your mind have become quite clear in recent years. And there are more benefits of learning new things throughout your lifetime than only preventing cognitive decline.
Here are several benefits of continuous learning:
Revisit Familiar Interests
It can remind you of a subject you were interested in years ago. If you were to revisit a foreign language you used to study, you could be energized by remembering the fun you had when you first learned it. You could also become motivated to visit the part of the world where that language is spoken. An exciting bit of travel is a great motivator and something wonderful to look forward to.
Find New Interests
Maybe it will spark an interest in something new! A new skill or craft that you’ve maybe wondered about for years. Or perhaps something you’ve never even considered before, but now that you’re retired and have the time and freedom to spend your days as you wish, there’s never been a better time to try something new.
Cure Your Boredom
You can work yourself out of a rut. If you’ve found that your days have become monotonous with the same old routine, mix it up! Continuous learning is going to always give you something new to try, a new challenge to overcome, an activity you’ve never done before. That’s what learning is all about!
It’s a great motivator. Trying new things can inspire you and drive you to be more active. If you’ve discovered a new activity or intellectual pursuit that you enjoy, you’ll want to spend time doing it. That will get you out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step, and you’ll be planning your day to make sure you have time to focus on your new endeavor.
Meet New People
Your interpersonal skills will benefit as well. It’s well known that spending time socializing is extremely important, especially for seniors. Getting out and around other like-minded people keeps you out of isolation and away from depression, anxiety, and even the possibility of some physical health problems. Shake off the blues by engaging with others for an intellectual challenge.
Improve Some Skills
Improvements in professional skills can spark creativity, improve problem-solving skills, and improve your abilities in the areas of critical thinking, leadership, and adaptation to change. And it can provide a real boost to your self-confidence. Knowledge is power, and feeling powerful means feeling confident. When you’re experiencing the satisfaction of spending time and effort learning, growing, and improving yourself, you’ll feel better all-around.
Continuous learning doesn’t have to always be a formal process of finding classes and organizations. You can go online and find self-directed courses, or even informal instructional videos, websites, and books as resources for learning.
How Do You Start?
Start by simply making a list of some of the things you’d like to try, used to like to do, or subjects you find interesting. Are you interested in science? Nutrition? History? Geology? The list of possibilities goes on and on. You could even investigate the possibility of a formal classroom setting. More and more older adults are attending classes at nearby or online colleges and universities all the time. Investigate classes in your area or online. Signing up is easy.
Make Time for Continuous Learning
Your goal of becoming a lifelong student is going to take some planning and effort. You’ve got to schedule your learning time into your day. It will take commitment, motivation, and effort to see it through. But the great news is that if you’ve picked a subject of great interest to you, you’ll seek it out and look forward to each new lesson as it comes.
Exercising your mind continuously is the very best way to prevent or slow the progression of cognitive decline and symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. And feeling like a student can make you feel young again. You’re never too old for lifelong learning!
The independent and assisted living communities at Holly Hall will have you as busy with learning activities as you want to be. And the cognitive support and memory care we offer makes continuous learning a priority for all residents. It’s healthy both physically and mentally, it’s motivating and,best of all, it’s fun!