Step into practically any store at this time of the year and you will be inundated with displays of sale-priced backpacks, pencils, notebooks, and lunchboxes – and aisles full of parents scrambling to check off all the items from the kids’ back-to-school supply lists.
And while we might connect the new school year with children, it is imperative to shift our mindset to include seniors and the benefits of lifelong learning which includes:
- Increased cognitive functioning. Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital recently paired up to conduct a study on the impact of intellectual stimulation through the entire lifetime of older adults, and found a pronounced decrease in memory issues like those displayed in Alzheimer’s disease. Besides that, a separate study through the University of Texas at Dallas took it even further, learning that seniors who engaged in a new, mentally-stimulating hobby actually obtained a long-term improvement in their memory skills.
- Improved physical and mental health. Lifelong learning is linked to a reduced rate of depression and anxiety, in addition to a lowered rate of various chronic health conditions such as diabetes, stroke, emphysema, heart disease, ulcers, asthma, and more. And just reading for as little as 6 minutes helps reduce stress through lowering our heart rate and reducing muscle tension, leading to lower blood pressure levels, increased cardiovascular health, and a more robust and efficient immune system.
- Increased socialization. Of specific concern in senior loved ones is the tendency for isolation. Taking classes allows for the experience of community and camaraderie that is so imperative to our all-around feeling of wellbeing, combined with the chance to form lasting friendships with people who share similar interests.
Along with onsite classes, there are endless opportunities to learn online, in the comfort of home. And in many instances, classes on the web might be offered at no charge, or at a reduced rate for older adults who are not seeking to earn academic credits. Older adults can select from a number of topics of interest, and work at their own individual pace and according to their own schedule. AARP offers a list of a number of top e-learning websites for seniors here, that range from cooking tips to learning new languages, computer programming, musical skills, and much more.
Morning Glory Home Care, the home health care O-Fallon, IL families trust, is devoted to ensuring senior loved ones optimize quality of life each day, and we delight in supplying the help essential to promote lifelong learning. Our experienced care team can help research courses of interest, set up online programs, provide transportation and accompaniment to onsite classes, and even manage housework, meals, and laundry to enable older adults to focus on their newfound passion!