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Campuses across the nation are fluttering with children returning back to school. But they are not the only ones going back to learn. A 2016 Pew study discovered that 73% of american adults consider themselves lifelong learners and even more have participated in a learning activity within the last year. Why is lifelong learning so important?
According to the Pew study, learning activities as we age can boost confidence, open up new perspectives about life, introduce you to new friends, and make you feel more connected to your local community. But lifelong learning can offer much more:
Some have found that learning a new skill has given them a chance to earn extra money. Anna Mary Robertson, or better known as Grandma Moses, one of the most celebrated names in American fine arts and folk arts, didn’t even pick up a brush until she was well into her late seventies. Many authors have transitioned their talents to the digital realm after retirement, giving them new expertise that translates into extra income.
Lifelong learning increases knowledge, fuels creativity and spurs innovation. It gives you a way to use that information in a variety of meaningful ways. It enhances your mind and allows you to connect with others who appreciate the same proficiencies.
Cognitive function includes our ability to think, reason, and judge. There are multiple studies proving that learning helps to maintain a healthy brain. Use it or lose it is a lifelong learner’s motto. The process of learning helps you keep your brain working well and your neurological connections in tune.
Many people have found new friends and new social groups through common interests. As we age, loneliness and isolation become a problem. Lifelong learning gets us out of the house and forces us to interact with others. The benefit is meeting people of ‘kindred spirit’ that can easily develop into important friendships and activities.
An attitude of humility and openness fuels our desire to continue learning. We become more and more aware of our inability to be perfect as we age, and acutely aware of our spiritual needs. Even five minutes a day reading the bible can reap huge spiritual benefits. Reading for short amounts of time and then applying what we are learning throughout the day brings an even greater fulfillment.
There are many local opportunities and digital ways to continue learning. Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington offers thought provoking courses for the joy of learning. Web-based Ted talks are famous for cutting edge information that also allows you to stretch your brain cells. CRISTA Senior Living offers an environment of curiosity and learning through a multitude of classes and events, as well as unique opportunities designed specifically for an aging population, lifelong learning can continue to be a way of life as you age.
Connecting and celebrating generations through grace, compassion and inspiration, you can find out more at www.cristaseniorliving.org
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