Older adults are sometimes stereotyped as being set in their ways and unwilling to change. This is not true for everyone. But unfortunately, many seniors do fall into set patterns of behavior and stop learning new things. There are serious potential health risks associated with this unchanging outlook. In contrast, you can benefit greatly from participating in educational programs and doing other things to pick up new skills.
At Buckner Parkway Place, we provide options, such as our educational programs, that give seniors a chance to learn exciting new skills. Learn more about the benefits of learning new skills for seniors at Buckner Parkway Place by calling 281.305.1846 or completing our online contact form.
The Underlying Reason Why Seniors Should Learn New Skills
As you grow older, your risks for mental decline increase.
Specific potential signs of this decline can include:
- Forgetting things more often than you used to
- Losing track while thinking or talking to others
- Having a decreased ability to make sound judgments
- Running into difficulty when navigating familiar environments
- Forgetting important events
- Developing symptoms of depression or anxiety
In some cases, these signs can be forerunners of dementia. However, they also occur in seniors who never develop dementia. One of the key things you can do to avoid mental decline is to stay mentally active. You can work toward this goal in a number of ways. That includes developing new skills as you grow older.
Beneficial Learning Opportunities for Seniors
Learning opportunities for seniors come in all shapes and sizes. However, research suggests that not all of these opportunities are equally beneficial to your mental health. For example, crossword puzzles and similar games are often recommended for seniors. But if you’re accustomed to completing puzzles or word games, they may not help you much. That’s true because your mind already knows how to do them. Even when you learn new words, you don’t push the overall limits of your mental abilities.
Things change when you try to learn new, mentally demanding skills such as photography or playing an instrument. Truthfully, the effort required to pick up these skills might be taxing for your brain. In turn, the mental workout you receive helps keep you sharp. The more actively you’re engaged in learning something new, the greater the benefit.
The Benefits of Learning New Skills for Seniors
There are also other ways to increase the benefits of learning new skills for seniors. For example, studies show that you gain an advantage from learning multiple skills rather than just one. When you do this, you simulate the kind of mental load needed to do college coursework.
You may think that you’re too old to handle this mental load. But, in reality, this typically isn’t true. When you exercise your brain, it tends to rise to the challenge. In response to the increased workload, its baseline capacity expands. The result can be a widespread boost in the quality of your day-to-day mental function.
Specific areas that may show improvement include your:
- Working memory
- Ability to switch between tasks
- Short-term, episodic memory
The potential gains of learning multiple skills are not small. In fact, with ongoing effort, you may be able to match the typical mental performance of much younger adults. This is true even for seniors aged eighty or older.
Explore More About Why Seniors Should Learn New Skills at Buckner Parkway Place
Do you have questions about the value of learning new skills as you age? Our staff at Buckner Parkway Place can provide the answers. We feature a variety of educational programs for all of our residents. In addition, we offer arts and crafts programs and an onsite library. No matter your interests, we provide the support that helps you learn and develop the required skills.
These are just some of the ways that we promote healthy function in older adults. Call Buckner Parkway Place today at 281.305.1846 or fill out our convenient online form for more information about why seniors should learn new skills in retirement.