“Anyone who stops learning is old,
whether at twenty or eighty.
Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
Activity: The Brain’s Elixir
To maintain health as we age, staying active — physically, mentally and socially — is widely acknowledged to be the best medicine. For your brain, engaging in varied and challenging activity builds what’s called a “cognitive reserve.” It’s a measure of your brain’s ability to cope with the impact of health, environmental or emotional change. While we inherit a degree of cognitive reserve from our parents, we’re also able to build and maintain our brain’s natural stamina and resilience by living in an enriching environment.
What would you like to do today?
Shelve jigsaw puzzles and bingo for a rainy day. There’s more opportunity for enrichment than in generations past, and it’s ever-expanding. When it comes to educational enrichment there are books, online courses, podcasts and professional development courses for self-directed learning. It’s common to see older adults furthering their education in their later years, and in fact, university-based retirement communities such as Broadview provide a combination of active senior living and abundant opportunity for learning and development that is immensely rewarding.
The pursuit of lifelong learning for seniors offers a multitude of benefits:
For Your Brain
A study[TB1] published in the American Academy of Neurology confirms the link between lifelong learning for seniors and positive effects on cognitive health. Intellectually stimulating activities offer protective benefits and may even stave off the development of Alzheimer’s and forms of dementia.
For Your Social Connections
According to U.S. Census data, nearly one in three Americans live alone. This “loneliness epidemic” is as harmful to older adults’ health as any disease, increasing the rates of depression, cardiac problems and stroke. Participating in a class, seminar or workshop in an intergenerational learning center is a natural way to widen your social circle with friendly, supportive people who share your interests.
For Your Personal Growth
Lifelong learning sets the platform for a new stage of personal growth. Whether you choose to pick up an intriguing skill or delve deeper into a familiar subject, the more you open yourself up to new experiences, the more you’ll discover about yourself. With this comes greater confidence and a richer understanding of how you fit in the world.
For Your Smile Muscles
If you’re wondering how to stay young — just have fun with what you’re doing. Unlike your earlier years, when you were studying to pass an exam or advance your career, now you have the luxury of learning for the sheer joy of it. You’re not there to be “the best,” so simply enjoy the experience and people you’re meeting in class — and laugh a little. Or a lot!
Broadview is a university-based retirement community located on the campus of Purchase College, SUNY. Its unique setting offers residents unprecedented access to classes, performances, exhibitions, workshops and discussions, just steps from their door. To learn more about the lifelong learning opportunities integral to Broadview’s vibrant senior living lifestyle, call 914-417-4201.
[TB1] Optional link: https://n.neurology.org/content/85/1/48