Humans are born with a thirst for knowledge. Curiosity is a natural trait of any person, and as we progress through life, we learn life skills and uncover information that motivates us to live our lives with greater intensity and passion.
However, after we graduate college, society tends not to emphasize the importance of learning, and our enthusiasm for discovering new knowledge begins to wane as we become distracted by life. Raising a family, pursuing a full-time career, and maintaining an active social life take their toll on the time we have available to chase new ideas and projects.
After retirement and when the kids have moved out of the house, a lot of seniors find they have more time on their hands. Why not to take advantage of this newly formed gap in your time and start to learn again. Scientists emphasize that it is vital to keep acquiring knowledge as you age, even into your senior years. So, bare with me for some additional information on benefits of learning new skills and how to make the process as smooth as possible.
Stop the Boredom
If you are sitting around the house all day with nothing important to do, life can get pretty dull. Most of us are dreaming to spend our retirement chilling, relaxing and enjoying. However, when it actually happens, it feels quite different then we expected. People find themselves experiencing a sense of restlessness with nothing to do, which is truly a spirit killer.
Boredom can take its toll when it comes to both mood and health. Namely, the lack of stimulation leads to various cognitive disorders and diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Learning new skills provides seniors with an opportunity to remain both productive and happy.
Check Your Hearing and Vision
As we age, we begin to lose contact with our senses. It’s common for older people to have issues with their hearing or vision. A loss in hearing can directly impact a senior’s quality of life. When they are unable to interpret sounds from their environment, the typical response is to withdraw from that environment.
Learning requires seniors to be able to hear audible commands and instructions. Therefore, its best to ensure that you have the tools needed to master your senses. Visit a medical professional for an evaluation of your sight and hearing. Doctors will prescribe hearing aids and reading glasses to counter any effects of aging on the senses.
Stay Active While Learning
With age naturally comes a decline in strength and mobility. It is vital for seniors to stay as active as possible in order to remain healthy. Learning could result in spending hours in a seated position, and tight hips from shortened hip-flexors and posture problems from prolonged periods of sitting are common issues to address in seniors. So, bare this in mind, learn in a comfortable environment and make regular breaks to stretch or take a short walk.
The Role of Nutrition and Hydration
Seniors require special dietary needs as they age. The very process of aging depletes vital nutrients and minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, from the body. If the body is not in a state of good health, then the brain will be unable to process and retain new information.
Visit your doctor for a blood test to determine any nutritional deficiencies you may have. Remove any refined carbohydrates and trans-fats from your diet and replace them with sources of healthy fat. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil and the essential fatty acids found in fish are instrumental in providing seniors with sustained energy for learning throughout the day.
Learning Adds Depth to Life
Learning new skills like a new language adds to your abilities and your life experience in a positive way. As human beings, the thing that separates us from other species in the animal kingdom is our ability to learn and process new knowledge. The more we learn, the broader our world-view becomes and the greater our understanding of people, nations, and their culture.
Seniors deserve an equal opportunity to develop new skills and to keep learning as we age. Technology has enabled anyone access to an online world of learning potential. Learning new tasks isn’t as challenging as you think if you have the right strategy. For example, language learners that focus on pronunciation often see quick results.
Today’s information age has tools and courses that can teach you language skills. Master any language using your cell phone or tablet and a wireless internet connection. Do not be resistant when it comes to adopting modern technology. Distance yourself from your comfort zone and embrace the benefits of using it in your life.
Learning Keeps Your Mind Healthy
People often choose to spend a huge amount of their free time sitting on the couch and watching TV, but keeping your mind active protects your mental and overall health. Boredom could make you feel dejectedand even depressed, while gaining some awesome new skills will make you excited. Without the necessary psychological stimulation, neural pathways in the brain begin to break down, exposing the mind to mental disorders and disease. On the other hand, it is a proven fact that learning protects the brain and improves the mental health of seniors. For example, research shows that those people who spoke two or more languages have significantly better cognitive function than those that speak one language.
While people often think it’s too late to learn a new skill, the truth is that there’s no better time than the present. All you need to make a success in learning is commit to the desire to learn!
This guest post was graciously provided by Caitlin Evans. Caitlin is a bookworm, photographer and dancer. She is also a graphic designer, but that one is on hold at the moment. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Cate is researching and writing about various lifestyle related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu and caffeine.