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.
This article is part of my “Importance of Elders” series that features 50+ articles on keeping seniors and the elderly happy and healthy so that we can have them in our lives longer. See the entire series here.
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.
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.