senior man in a class learning something new while in retirement

Age and Lifelong Learning

Remember when you were a senior in high school or a senior in college? How happy you were to know school was behind you? Today, as a different kind of senior, you realize being a lifelong learner gives you the opportunity to learn new things and discover new passions. No matter what your age. 

Lifelong learning is defined as “the use of both formal and informal learning opportunities throughout your life in order to foster the continuous development and improvement of the knowledge and skills needed for employment and personal fulfillment.”  

In fact, lifelong learning for seniors can keep you challenged and engaged while experiencing the fun and fulfillment of learning something new. 

What are the benefits of lifelong learning for seniors?

No matter what your age, lifelong learning can bring you meaning, purpose and a higher quality of life. Now that you’re free of the day-to-day obligations of your career and raising a family, this is a great time to pursue your interests. You’ll not only expand your knowledge, but you could also see improvement in these vital areas:

  • Socialization: As we grow older, loneliness can become a big health risk factor that can have a negative impact on your overall health and wellness. By choosing to take a class or attend a lecture, you can combat loneliness through social engagement. It’s also a great way to surround yourself with people of all ages who share your interests and goals.
  • Healthier brains: Learning something new, like a hobby or skill, can help boost your memory. Neuroscientists at the University of Texas at Dallas found that seniors who took on a new mentally challenging hobby — like learning to play an instrument or operate a computer — strengthened numerous networks within the brain.
  • Healthier bodies: A study by the University of Sussex in England found that reading for as little as six minutes lowered the study participants’ stress levels, slowing their heart rates and easing tension in their muscles. And lower stress has wide-ranging benefits for your cardiovascular health, decreasing blood pressure and reducing the risk of a stroke or heart attack, boosting immunity, and lowering levels of depression.
  • Happiness: Being fully engaged in learning something new has been found to provide satisfaction and happiness. However, to get these benefits, the tasks must be difficult enough to really challenge you. Being challenged and learning how to do a difficult task produces a boost in health and happiness. 

Lifelong learning opportunities.

  • Specialized programs: Many universities and colleges — like Christopher Newport University near The Chesapeake — offer activities, including lectures, courses, study and discussion groups, lunches, dinners, and field trips. They’re a great way to find older adults who share your experiences and interests. The Chesapeake frequently visits the university so residents can enjoy the variety of learning experiences.
  • Hobbies and interests: You can receive the same social, cognitive, health and happiness benefits by taking up a stimulating hobby like quilting, painting, digital photography, learning to play an instrument, keeping up with the latest technology, and so much more. 
  • A community of friends: Living by people who are actively pursuing their goals makes it easier for you to pursue your own. And who knows? You might even find you share some interests with your neighbors. 

Learn more about the benefits of The Chesapeake.

Imagine finding a maintenance-free community that gives you the freedom to pursue your hobbies. Or offered classes where you could learn something new. What could you accomplish? What could you learn? 

At The Chesapeake, we offer a variety of services and amenities — including seminars and on-site lectures — to ensure lifelong learning opportunities are always readily available. You can learn more by contacting us here.