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Back to School: 7 Tips for Lifetime Learners

For students and teachers all over our area, August means back to school. As we age, this time of year may seem less relevant, but it’s a good reminder that learning is good for you no matter your age. In fact, research indicates that those who continue to learn as they age are less affected by the cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s Disease.

Whether you or your aging loved one wants to earn a degree at an advanced age or simply sharpen a skill, there are many opportunities for learning at any age.

  • Consider community college. College classes are not just for those seeking a degree. In the community college setting, adult learning opportunities with small class sizes and affordable costs are the norm. While many still employ traditional classroom learning models, there are also countless classes that offer hands-on learning. From art to zoology, the possibilities are endless.
  • Look to your local library or community center. Check your local organizations’ calendars for workshops, seminars and regular classes.
  • Develop a new skill and gain valuable information by offering your time to an organization in need. Choose an area that interests you and use the opportunity to learn.
  • Play a little. A new game or physical activity involves learning new rules and skills. Consider gathering with friends to learn a new game. Enjoy it together for a while, then try something new the next month.
  • There’s nothing like a good book to expand your world. Whether discussing fiction with a group of friends or taking in the knowledge of nonfiction, reading is good for learners of all ages. Plus, reading has been shown to reduce stress levels. For those with limited eyesight or reading ability, audiobooks are widely available.
  • Take up a hobby. As people age, they often find that there is time to take up that hobby they dreamed about during their working years. Whether cooking or golf, crocheting or hiking, every hobby is an opportunity to learn new things. Learning to play a new instrument is believed to offset cognitive decline.
  • Go online. The online world offers more opportunity than there ever was before. You could learn and explore new things all day long. You can learn anything from coding to origami on YouTube, or explore one of these wonderful learning websites to find a topic of interest.

We encourage you to head “back to school” this year. Becoming a lifelong learner will benefit you in so many ways!