Walk into practically any store this time of year and you will be overwhelmed with displays of sale-priced school bags, pens, notebooks, and lunchboxes – and aisles filled with parents scrambling to check off all the items found on the kids’ back-to-school supply lists.
And although we may correlate the brand new school year with children, there are many benefits of lifelong learning for older adults too, including:
- Increased cognitive functioning. Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital recently paired up to conduct research on the impact of intellectual stimulation throughout the lifetime of older adults, and found a pronounced decrease in memory issues such as those displayed in Alzheimer’s disease. Not just that, but a separate study through the University of Texas at Dallas took it even further, finding that seniors who participated in a new, mentally-stimulating hobby actually achieved a lasting improvement in their memory skills.
- Increased physical and mental health. Higher education is linked to a lowered rate of depression and anxiety, in addition to a decreased rate of numerous chronic conditions such as diabetes, stroke, emphysema, cardiovascular disease, ulcers, asthma, and much more. And simply reading for as little as 6 minutes helps lessen stress through lowering our heart rate and easing muscle tension, resulting in lower blood pressure, increased cardiovascular health, and a more robust and efficient immune system.
- Increased socialization. Of specific concern in older adults is the predisposition for isolation. Taking classes allows for the experience of community and camaraderie that is so important for our general feeling of wellbeing, in addition to the opportunity to form lasting friendships with others who share similar interests.
Along with onsite courses, there are unlimited opportunities to learn online, within the comfort of home. And in many instances, classes on the web are offered free of charge, or at a lower rate for older adults who aren’t aiming to earn academic credits. Seniors can select from numerous topics of interest, and work at their own pace and in accordance with their particular schedule. AARP offers a listing of a number of top e-learning websites for seniors here, ranging from cooking tips to learning new languages, computer programming, musical skills, and more.
Enhanced Home Care, the home care Kansas City, MO leader, is dedicated to ensuring senior loved ones optimize quality of life every single day, and we delight in supplying the help needed to encourage lifelong learning. Our professional care team can help investigate classes of interest, set up online programs, provide transportation and accompaniment to onsite classes, and even take care of housework, meals, and laundry to enable older adults to focus on their newfound passion!