Age of Learning – Why Learning is Beneficial for Elderly By, Cahal Carmody

It’s time to send your kids back to school, but have you ever thought of encouraging your retired parents or grandparents to take advantage of the wide range of lifelong learning opportunities available to them? Research shows that older adults can benefit both physically and mentally by continuing to learn throughout their lifetimes. Seniors can choose more informal learning settings such as shorter-term classes offered through local community centres or libraries as an alternative to traditional classrooms, which can be too structured.

There are many reasons to keep engaged, and a little encouragement from you is all your loved ones might need:

  • As a retiree, there’s no career pressure, no crushing student loans, and no competition over grades. Most mature students aren’t writing exams or concerned about grade averages to get into university. They can focus on developing their interests without worrying about changing their schedules.
  • Education is good for our brains as well as for the body. Learning something new is exercising the brain muscle which can result in big health dividends.
  • Education may improve the quality of their lives. It is difficult to measure personal development but seniors have reported that learning gives them a fresh perspective and opens up many different horizons.
    • It gives them the opportunity to meet interesting people. Educational settings are great for making new friends, even if they remain classroom-only relationships. People with higher levels of educational attainment tend to be more involved in community activities and events.
  • Anyone can go it alone or take a course with a spouse or a friend. It’s easy to participate and make acquaintances in a class without ever having to divulge too many personal details. Some couples choose to study together, while others are happy to have their “own thing” to do for a few hours a week.

A person’s cognitive abilities will benefit from the stimulation of active participation and engagement – remember “use it or lose it” applies just as much to the brain, if not more than to any other function!


CAHAL CARMODY is the owner of Premier Homecare Services Toronto Central, which is accredited with exemplary standing, the highest level awarded by Accreditation Canada™. Premiertorontocentral.com

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