One of the bigger myths about growing older is that new things can’t be learned or that we lose our intellectual abilities.
Today’s active seniors know that’s simply not true.
In fact, one of the best benefits to brain health is to continue lifelong learning.
Several studies on aging and brain health point to learning as an influential role. One example is the impact that higher education may have as some research has found a possible correlation of a decreased risk of developing dementia.
Bilingual individuals, who require more learning to become fluent in a second language, were also shown to be less likely to develop cognitive decline. And even for those who were diagnosed with dementia, on average it was nearly five years later than those who spoke only one language.
When you’re learning something new, especially if it’s complex, your brain is working through intellectually challenging exercises and keeping in shape. By helping to build connections between neurons, not only is your mind sharpened but it also increases the brain’s ability to re-route itself, especially if there is a disease, such as dementia. This is often referred to as the brain creating a cognitive reserve.
Learning expands beyond what is taught in a classroom or generated from a college lecture or textbook. While the concept may invoke images of endless studying, you may be encouraged to know you’re likely doing it right now.
We are all surrounded by opportunities. And the inspiration to learn often comes naturally. Consider if you have these traits, such as curiosity, wanting to know how the world works or sharing the knowledge you have with others.
Learning can, of course, be formal. But it can also be as simple as reading a newspaper, watching a documentary about another country’s approach to pollution or contemplating the stars. You can also learn by traveling, talking to other people and entertaining different points of view.
Aging well relies on a healthy brain. And to achieve that, more effort will be needed than playing an occasional brain game. Look at the big picture when taking steps to keep your brain active and include a variety of exercises and activities.
Your brain needs to be stimulated. Once you master a skill, you’ll need to go to the next challenge. Learning for life accomplishes that goal.
Make sure the activities you choose focus on memory and sharpening your thinking skills. The more you work out your brain, your ability to receive, process and recall information will improve.
Connect exercises, games or functions you like with activities that will give your brain a workout. Like physical exercise, if you don’t enjoy it, you’ll likely not stay with it.
Life presents many challenges and as you grow older you’ve learned to better adapt to change. You’ve also developed coping strategies that can help smooth out the road ahead.
But remember, helping your brain maintain good health doesn’t always have to be an intellectual exercise. Learning how to enjoy life more, new meditation practices, or how to have a good laugh at yourself can often be among the best discoveries.
When you’re committed to lifelong learning, you’re also honing other skills that contribute to gathering information. Your brain benefits as you challenge it to think critically, problem solve, follow linear thought processes or retain sequences of data. Practicing how to recall the material is another skill to sharpen.
According to one study, falling dementia rates experienced by seniors aged 65 and older were associated with those who had stayed in school longer and received more education.
Although it’s noted that more research is needed before connecting cause and effect, it’s also interesting that this decline occurred in those more educated who also had elevated rates of high blood pressure and diabetes.
Continued learning has been shown to boost our self-confidence and feelings of accomplishment. When you’re naturally curious and drawn to learning, you may more easily discover the key to living not only a happy, but more fulfilling life.
Our minds need to be nurtured and stimulated. Learning may give us a sense of having more control over at least some of our circumstances. Staying active and aware of the world around you can make all the difference.
When you continue to learn, your brain is able to consider a much bigger world than the space you can only see or touch. Your ability to imagine and create a thought process that allows you to go beyond your surroundings is a great brain exercise.
Keeping your mind socially active also provides the benefit of being able to see the world from another’s point of view. When you contrast and compare that with your own, you may learn more about yourself in the process.
We understand the importance of lifelong learning and the vital impact it can make on keeping your brain healthy. Independent living communities provide many opportunities for you to keep your physical and cognitive health in great shape.
At Ingleside at King Farm Independent Living, we support your efforts by offering engaging activities, social events, healthy dining and fitness classes that work together to help you live your best life.
Our amenities and activities include:
Staffed fitness center
Indoor heated pool
Cultural Arts Center
Spa/salon with massage room
Clubs to suit every interest
Spiritual, musical and theatrical programs
Along with scheduled transportation to medical appointments, shopping, concerts and other events, you’ll have easy access to King Farm’s shuttle system that loops to the Metro as well as walking paths that lead to The King Farm Village Center, just a few blocks away.
Please visit our website or call (240) 414-8557 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.