Walk into practically any store at this time of the year and you will be bombarded with displays of sale-priced school bags, pencils, notebooks, and lunchboxes – and aisles full of parents rushing to check off all of the items from the kids’ back-to-school supply lists.
Even though we might associate the brand new school year with children, classes for older adults can benefit seniors in a plethora of ways, including:
- Elevated cognitive functioning. Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital recently paired up to carry out research on the effect of intellectual stimulation through the entire lifetime of older adults, and found a marked reduction of memory issues like those exhibited in Alzheimer’s disease. Not just that, but a separate research study through the University of Texas at Dallas took it a step further, learning that older adults who engaged in a new, mentally-stimulating hobby actually attained a lasting boost in their memory skills.
- Increased physical and mental health. Advanced schooling is linked to a lowered rate of depression and anxiety, as well as a deceased rate of multiple chronic health conditions including diabetes, stroke, emphysema, heart disease, ulcers, asthma, and much more. And just reading for as little as six minutes helps reduce stress through lowering our heart rate and reducing muscle tension, resulting in lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, and a more robust and efficient immune system.
- Enhanced socialization. Of specific concern in older adults is the predisposition for isolation. Taking classes allows for the sense of community and camaraderie that is so imperative to our general sense of wellbeing, along with the opportunity to form lasting friendships with those who share similar interests.
In conjunction with onsite classes, there are unlimited opportunities to learn online, within the comfort of home. And in many instances, classes on the web are offered free of charge, or at a lowered rate for seniors who aren’t looking to earn academic credits. Seniors can choose from a number of topics of interest, and work at their own individual pace and based on their own schedule. AARP offers a listing of top e-learning websites for seniors here, that range from cooking tips to learning new languages, computer programming, musical skills, and more.
Compassionate Nursing Services is dedicated to ensuring senior loved ones throughout the St. Louis area maximize quality of life every day, and we have a passion for providing the help essential to promote lifelong learning. Our highly-trained care team can help research classes of interest, set up online programs, provide transportation and accompaniment to onsite classes, and even take care of housework, meals, and laundry to permit older adults to concentrate on their newfound passion!