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Why Lifelong Learning Is Important for Seniors & Healthy Aging

two senior women use a computer together

We can all agree that staying physically fit, maintaining a healthy diet, and staying socially connected are all vital parts of healthy aging for seniors. Focusing on mental fitness, however, is equally important to maintaining positive overall health and wellness for older adults. Cognitive decline is a naturally occurring process that will one day impact all of us. But lifelong learning can help delay that decline and improve our overall quality of life.

What Is Lifelong Learning?

You won’t be surprised that lifelong learning is exactly what it sounds like the pursuit of knowledge to build skills, explore new ideas, enhance understanding and enrich life throughout adulthood, far beyond your school days. What may surprise you are the invaluable benefits of lifelong learning for seniors. Whether self-imposed or in a traditional classroom setting, lifelong learning helps older adults keep connected to the world, discover new passions and, perhaps most importantly, maintain both physical and mental health.

Benefits of Lifelong Learning

Physiological and psychological benefits of lifelong learning, and particularly lifelong learning for seniors, have only been studied for a relatively short time. However, a famous study by the MacArthur Foundation determined that lifestyle choices play an enormously important role in healthy aging for seniors. Lifelong learning plays a key role in those lifestyle choices and outcomes. What we know now about the benefits of lifelong learning include:

  • Improved Cognitive Health
    Multiple studies, including The Synapse Project and the Journals of Gerontology, have concluded that continuous learning helps our brains stimulate healthy neuron generation, which helps maintain communication skills, problem-solving skills, reasoning skills, and both working and episodic memory.
  • Reduced Risk of Dementia
    A 2008 study from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging found that those with a higher level of education often have better brain health later in life. Importantly, the study found that lifetime intellectual enrichment “might delay the onset of cognitive impairment and be used as a successful preventive intervention to reduce the impending dementia epidemic.”
  • Increased Social Fulfillment
    Engaging in lifelong learning activities is a sure way to find people who share your interests and values. Joining clubs, taking classes, and sharing knowledge aren’t just  great ways to stimulate your intellect; they’re also  perfect for making friends and creating connections with people you might otherwise never interact with.
  • Less Stress, Healthier Bodies
    The effects of education on health have been well documented. Generally, higher levels of education lead to healthier people. This is especially true for seniors who pursue continued education well past adolescence and early adulthood. Studies from Princeton and Harvard determined continuous education actually lowers rates of anxiety and depression, and even reduces risks of acute and chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Examples of Lifelong Learning

No matter how you prefer to learn, or what kind of things you like to spend time doing, there’s almost always an opportunity to enrich your mind. It all comes down to individual interests. And keep in mind lifelong learning activities don’t have to be strenuous or difficult to accomplish. After all, learning should be fun, especially when you’re decades out of school. Just a few examples that might pique your interest include:

  • Learning a new language or learning about an unfamiliar culture
  • Starting new skill-focused hobbies such as crafting, sewing, cooking, or even golfing
  • Expressing yourself artistically through painting, sculpting, drawing, writing, or anything that gets your imagination going
  • Learning to play  instrument
  • Attending courses or lectures, or exploring art galleries and museums
  • Watching documentaries on topics you’ve never explored

Lifelong Learning Is Part of Our Everyday Lifestyle

Here at Robson Reserve at Pebble Creek, we take a holistic approach to wellness that focuses on fulfilling all 7 dimensions of your life. We offer an abundant variety of intellectually enriching activities, including  on-site university speakers, guest lecturers, live performances, and much more. Plus, a wide range of premium services and amenities  ensure that however you want to spend your day, you’ll find it here. Pebble Creek residents  wouldn’t have it any other way. If you’d like to learn more about our lifestyle, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule your personal tour.