October 15, 2023
Think back to your younger years when you were preparing for college. It was an exciting time with so many opportunities ahead of you, and you were most likely looking forward to learning more about your chosen career and expanding your knowledge.
Many people think that taking classes at a university or community college is reserved only for younger generations, specifically those in their late teens and early 20s. However, this could not be further from the truth!
Continued learning is for all ages and can provide personal growth, social expansion, purposeful activity, and more for older adults. In fact, a study conducted by AARP found that 55% of American adults over 45 have started to take advantage of their free time and actively learn new things – whether it be a helpful skill, fun activity, or course of study.
At Franciscan Ministries, our mission of living joyfully and taking advantage of life’s opportunities includes utilizing the seven dimensions of wellness, including intellectual wellness, to help residents that chose senior living in Illinois discover ways to expand their knowledge and enhance their lifestyle.
Our team is sharing three benefits that continued learning provides to help inspire you to discover new things and expand your horizons.
Many people associate learning solely with the act of being present in a classroom environment, but it is essential to understand that learning can happen anywhere at any time. For example, when did you last watch a documentary or discover a new recipe? These acts can be put in the same learning category because you left the experience with a new understanding of something.
Continued learning includes many different forms of education, and while taking up courses at your local university or community college is absolutely an option, remember that continued learning can also include:
Aside from wellness and health, continued learning allows people to pursue several of the most significant aspects of being human: our ability to learn, grow, and explore. These things help us find meaning in life and bring us closer to discovering a solid sense of purpose that drives us forward each day.
Here are three benefits individuals can enjoy when they continue to expand their horizons:
Finding opportunities to enjoy social connections or create new friendships can be challenging for many individuals, especially those who choose to age in place or live alone. In fact, social isolation is an epidemic for adults over the age of 65 and can lead to severe physical and mental health conditions. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicines, nearly one-fourth of adults over 65 are considered to be socially isolated.
By engaging in courses or opportunities that allow you to explore continued learning, you will be able to interact with fellow students or others in your chosen activity group, which can create a clear path toward meaningful friendships.
A study that focused on a group of older adults with an average age of 69 found that those who participated in courses like Spanish or music composition showed significant improvements in their memory.
Regardless of your chosen topic, activity, or subject, continued learning stimulates cognitive function by increasing the number of neurons produced in the brain. Neurons send information and signals from the brain to the rest of the body and can vastly improve memory, thinking skills, and attention span.
You can significantly improve your confidence and self-esteem by learning new information, cultivating a new skill, and focusing on an exciting subject. Taking part in continued learning programs can be incredibly empowering and provides a sense of growth and purpose.
At Franciscan Ministries, life enrichment and inspiration are at the forefront of our senior living communities in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. We provide residents with environments to live joyfully and all the tools they need to enhance their lifestyles and improve their overall wellness.