February 22, 2019

Continuing to Learn as You Age Helps Keep Your Brain Healthy

Memory & Brain Health, Senior Health & Wellness

While some older Americans are resistant to learning new skills (“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”), it turns out that learning a new skill or simply gathering new information can help keep the brain young. As we discussed in this post, learning can spur brain cell growth, which can help stave off the effects of dementia.

But more than that, the new skills learned can help seniors lead more fulfilling lives. Take technology for example. A study conducted by University of Exeter researchers concluded that adults aged 60 to 95 who received computer equipment and training “had heightened feelings of self-competence, engaged more in social activity, had a stronger sense of personal identity, and showed improved cognitive capacity.” According to Harvard Health Publishing, learning a new skill can slow cognitive aging. A study published in Psychological Science found that adults aged 60 to 90 who learned a complex skill like digital photography or quilting, showed wide-range improvement in overall memory compared with a group that participated in simpler mental activities, like doing crossword puzzles.

Learning can expand your horizons, improve your life, and help your brain stay healthy. So what’s stopping you from taking the plunge? If you need some ideas on how to get started, check out the senior/retiree programs at your nearest college or university. Many centers of higher learning allow older adults to audit classes at reduced rates. Some are completely tuition free. 

If getting out of the house to attend class doesn’t appeal to you, there are also a plethora of online courses available. AARP has complied an extensive list of online courses available to those who are interested in everything from cooking to history and computer programming.

Learning Opportunities at Era Senior Living

Era Senior Living understands the importance of continuing education. To sign up for our upcoming educational events, please visit eraliving.com/events.