The Importance of Education for the Elderly (& How to Encourage Them)

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Updated:

Education is important for the elderly because it stimulates mental growth, enhance physical skills, can lead to creativity, and provide opportunities for socializations. Learn more about encouraging seniors to further their education.

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It’s easy enough to assume that older adults don’t need further education in their life. However, the joy of education is that anyone can be taught anything at any point in their lives. Therefore, education is important to senior citizens too.

Why Is It Important for the Elderly To Embrace Lifelong Learning?

Here are the top reasons why education is important for the elderly:

1. Stimulating Real Growth

Did you know that when you learn something new, the brain immediately produces new cells and creates new connections? Well, that comes in handy for a lot of senior citizens who might be suffering from memory issues such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

It’s highly rewarding for new adults to learn something new. When they are engaged in a new subject it’s easy enough to feel successful and hopeful.

When learning at their old age, it’s easy enough for seniors to learn new experiences and form real emotional connections with other people.

2. It’s Never Too Late To Learn Something New

It’s quite a misconception that teaching older adults is not rewarding because they don’t make great students. Well, this is completely wrong and it’s never too late to learn something new.

Yes, younger minds might be quicker to learn but it doesn’t mean that older minds should be dismissed altogether. Older adults are reflective and philosophical when they learn something new.

Yes, they process things differently and they take different learning curves but they can always learn something new even in their old age.

3. Too Many Learning Paths

You might be wondering how older adults might fit in a regular classroom. Well, you should know that there are different learning paths and everyone, even the seniors, are welcome to learn new things.

For instance, education can be formal and non-formal. Your elderly loved ones can learn in a group without necessarily getting formal certification and gather new experiences.

Unconsciously, they can learn something new even without going through a regular classroom.

4. Avoid Loneliness And Improve Social Interaction

Learning allows senior citizens to avoid being lonely or isolating themselves socially.

Through a learning experience, they can gain new friends and interact with the teacher effortlessly. They can always look forward to something and learn something new after every class.

Even better, it keeps their minds active, allowing them to avoid serious memory loss issues. Senior education allows older adults to feel comfortable enough to speak out as they learn new things.

How Can You Encourage Seniors To Start Learning?

If you are looking for ways to encourage your elderly loved ones to sign up for senior education, here are some useful tips to consider.

Find out about their passions, hobbies and interests and turn them into an educational project.

Your elderly loved ones will enjoy learning more about their hobbies and interests. For instance, if your grandparents or parents love knitting, you can make it an enjoyable class where they can share their work with the rest of the group effortlessly.

Find out what they want to learn in their old age.

They might have skipped out on a few important things as they grew older and this is the time they want to learn. For instance, let’s say someone loved pottery but never had the time to learn, this is the time to do it.

Find a group of seniors who are interested in senior education and put them together in a class.

They can share their experiences and learn together. It’s also a social interaction activity to help them avoid being lonely.

You can create an informal class where senior citizens share stories with younger people.

They have lived a long life and have a lot to talk about. Therefore, it’s a good idea to find the right type of audience to listen to their experiences. Younger people may even have a good time listening to older people while the seniors will enjoy sharing their memories.

Find a way to keep seniors active as they learn.

For instance, it’s never too late to learn new dances. So, you can start a dance class where they can learn various techniques and hold a showcase at the end of the class.

It’s never too late to learn and senior citizens would enjoy learning new things. Therefore, take advantage of these tips and teach your elderly loved ones new things in their old age.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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