Albert Einstein once said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” People learn new things every day, whether by finding a new recipe or discovering an interesting fact while watching a documentary. Our ability to explore new subjects and topics motivates us to find our purpose in life, and continued learning can help older adults grow and provide many incredible benefits to enhance their quality of life and wellness.
According to researchers, older adults have amazingly resilient cognitive abilities. For example, in one particular study, researchers compared the ability of a group of 20-year-olds to a group of adults over the age of 60 to detect the usage of incorrect pronouns in sentences. The results showed that the older adults outperformed the younger adults and responded just as quickly!
In other words, a person’s intellectual capacity doesn’t shrink or decline with age. However, to keep your mind sharp, it needs to be challenged and exercised. Continued learning can refer to a variety of new experiences, from taking college courses to learning how to play an instrument.
Your retirement years are the perfect time to pick up a new skill, study a new subject or find an educational opportunity at your senior living community. At Astral at Franklin, our Encompass self and wellbeing programs define our mission behind purposeful senior living in Franklin, Indiana. Below are five benefits you can expect to gain from continued learning and education.
When we continue learning new things as we age, our brains stimulate neuron generation, promoting connection within the brain. These neurons send messages and information throughout the body, and when more of these neurons are generated, it can boost our memory, thinking skills and attention levels.
Neurons also ensure brain health and maintenance, and cognitive stimulation is set in motion. Cognitive stimulation is key in lowering your risk of developing dementia. Recent studies have shown that lifelong learning is one of the best ways to keep your mind sharp and active while fighting off the effects of dementia.
Older adults are at an increased risk for developing health issues related to isolation and feelings of loneliness. In fact, a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) found that almost one-fourth of adults over the age of 65 are considered to be socially isolated.
One of the best aspects of continued learning is that many educational opportunities involve engaging with others. For example, taking a college course means interacting in a classroom setting (in-person or virtually) with like-minded people, and joining a book club or activity group is an excellent opportunity for stimulating conversations on specific topics while making new connections.
Stress can have a significant influence on the way your body reacts to certain situations. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, is released into the body to trigger your adrenal glands, giving off the “fight or flight” sense to keep us sharp during potentially dangerous situations. However, too much cortisol can lead to chronic stress, which is harmful in many different ways.
Continued learning, practicing a new activity and even reading a new book can lower cortisol levels and decrease muscle tension. Lower stress levels help our minds cope with challenges and allow us to think clearly, improving our problem-solving abilities.
Think back to your school years; how did you feel after getting an “A” on a difficult exam? Learning new things and proving our knowledge or developing a new skill releases endorphins, a hormone that reduces stress and improves our mood after a stressful time.
Therefore, when you were in school and spent days studying for a test, those feelings of accomplishment, relief and happiness you felt when you discovered you made an excellent score were all from the rush of endorphins being released into your system.
Continuing your education can boost your mood by giving you a sense of purpose and achievement. In addition, by channeling your energy into new ideas, hobbies and activities and getting in touch with new passions, you’ll be less likely to develop stress and anxiety; in other words, continued learning can make you happier!
Senior living in Franklin, Indiana, provides a whole new world of opportunities for retirees to discover continued learning. Our activity groups and Encompass programs offer all of the tools residents need in order to learn new things, get in touch with their passions and improve their wellbeing.
Discover senior living in Franklin, Indiana, today and schedule a tour of our community.
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