Senior Living: The Benefits of Lifelong Learning

When it comes to aging and longevity, an active mind is just as important as an active body. Many studies have found that learning is invaluable for health even in later stages of life. It helps to improve cognitive skills, social connections, and overall quality of life. How are you tapping into the most powerful benefits of lifelong learning for your seniors?

Learning is not just a childhood requirement – it is a lifelong necessity that activates the mind. Learning stimulates individuals in multiple ways, creating new pathways that keep the brain vibrant.

For seniors, learning is essential. It preserves cognition. The preservation of cognition helps to reduce the risk of dementia and other brain disorders.

There are so many great benefits to continual learning.

6 Health Advantages of Lifelong Learning for Seniors

1. Increased Cognitive Functioning
Studies conducted at major research institutions have found that intellectual stimulation throughout one’s life resulted in long-term improvement in memory retention.

2. Improved Physical and Mental Health
Psychological challenges such as depression and anxiety are reduced significantly by simply learning. The benefits continue from the brain to the periphery. Common diseases are reduced when learning is continually happening. Chronic health conditions include:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Emphysema
  • Heart Disease
  • Ulcers
  • Asthma

Researchers have also found that 6-minutes of reading reduces stress and lowers the heart rate. It also:

  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Lowers blood pressure levels
  • Increases cardiovascular health
  • Builds a robust and efficient immune system

3. Increased Socialization
Isolation is not as much of an issue when seniors are active learners. Attending classes of interest, engaging in thought provoking discourse with other learners and making new friends are all benefits of continual learning.

Assisted living lifestyles do not need to prevent learning. Seniors can engage in on-line classes from the safety and comfort of home.

Some classes have a nominal fee, but many are completely free.

4. Opportunities to Pursue Interests and Passions
Learning as a senior has a benefit unlike that of a younger person. When seniors learn, they are fully engaged in their interests.

They are not learning for job advancement. Seniors are learning for the very sake of learning. This brings a peace that is incomparable.

Just a few examples of offered opportunities for senior learning include:

  • Continuing education classes through local community colleges or online institutions
  • Lecture series on a variety of topics
  • History and/or art enrichment
  • Plus, online platforms like YouTube are full of opportunities to engage the thinking mind in specific interests

5. Improves Cognitive Functioning
Learning increases cognition – this is a well-known fact. New skill development engages various mental activities that directly reduce cognitive decline.

Learning new subject matter opens new neuronal pathways in the brain, actively thwarting cerebral atrophy.

6. Forms Social Connections
Socialization is a key part of learning. Whether it be elementary, middle or high school, socialization accompanies the learning environment.

Likewise, with seniors, learning creates a social atmosphere that is healthy and conducive to growth.

Isolation is significantly reduced when seniors engage in learning. The overall well-being of any senior is improved when learning is a part of everyday life.

5 BENEFITS OF LIFELONG LEARNING

Learning contributes to the way one lives, but it also contributes to the way one ages. Retirement can be a second chance at education for many seniors.

They have the time needed to embark on a new journey of mental exploration. Additionally, the elder’s brain craves new levels of engagement and the establishment of new neuronal pathways.

This stimulation is a catalyst to the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. How are you tapping into the most powerful benefits of lifelong learning for your seniors?

Below are 5 key benefits that accompany senior learning.

Be mindful that these benefits keep your senior active in a variety of ways. All the better for seniors who want to thrive in their golden years.

  1. Increases Your Brain Health

Alzheimer’s…the word that sends families into disarray. While no cure exists, the effects of Alzheimer’s are reduced when the senior engages in the learning process. A brain that is continually opening new neuronal pathways does not as easily atrophy.

It really works.

Leading medical institutions report that seniors who are involved in learning, that is higher level mental stimulation, have a significant delay in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

What does this mean?

The technical jargon can get heavy. Here it is put simply: learning slows the progression of Alzheimer’s even when other factors are present.

Why is learning so effective?

The brain can be trained as any muscle. Literally, training your brain by continued learning strengthens it.

Bonus Tip: Make some music, even piano lessons. Playing an instrument activates multiple parts of the brain and body simultaneously. When seniors learn to play instruments, the benefits are multifaceted.
  • Improved reaction time
  • Lasting effect of music memory
  • Strong emotional connection
  • Strengthens decision-making and problem-solving skills
  1. Lengthens Your Life Span

Longevity is enhanced by learning. How is it the case that longevity is affected by learning?

The connection between learning and life is well established. The learned person adds at least 6-months of life per one-year of learning.

Education also reduces psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. Even chronic diseases such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Ulcers

Learning isn’t a cure, but it can be an effective agent for combating or delaying such aging conditions.

  1. Improves Your Mental Health

Reading reduces stress. It really does. Reading contributes to an overall better quality and quantity of life. The following can be affected with enhancing literacy.

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Boosted immune system
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower risk for stroke or heart attack
  • Decreased levels of depression
  1. Helps Your Social Life

Not to be too repetitive, but it is really important to place emphasis on the fact that learning alleviates isolation.
People who are more fully engaged share a similar interest or focus with others.

So, how will you get Mom to engage with others? Take her to class. She’ll meet friends and will soon be hosting lunch parties again.

  1. Adds to Your Skill Set

As a retired person, the senior gets to learn whatever they desire. Many pick up that subject or project they began many years ago.

It was a personal interest but did not contribute to income at a time when income was desperately needed. However, now in retirement, it is possible.

GET RESOURCES THAT SUSTAIN SENIORS

During the present pandemic, nothing is normal. Learning is no exception. It is imperative to find learning opportunities online for seniors in residential assisted living.

Help your seniors remain completely engaged in order to live longer and healthy lives.

The benefits of learning is no passive engagement. It is active learning that benefits the brain and overall well-being of every senior.

The Residential Assisted Living National Association takes pride in providing the necessary resources for RAL business nationwide.

RALNA provides professional tips, guidance for legal expertise, continued education, national marketing, group purchasing power and support to members.

Find the ongoing support you need to care for seniors in assisted living by clicking here.

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