The anti-aging market is a multi-billion dollar industry. And while businesses try to figure out those magic products that will make us all feel younger, we sometimes forget that the key to aging well is simpler than we think.
Research shows that seniors who participate in active learning activities are all around healthier, physically and emotionally. Lifelong learning helps seniors not only stay challenged mentally, but can reap significant social and physical benefits. And the great part about lifelong learning (and one of the reasons we made it a guiding pillar in our new Thrive senior living enrichment programs), is everyone can benefit. Lifelong learning can be small or big. It can happen at home or surrounded by people at a retirement community. Lifelong learning is for everyone and should be a key component to building your healthy retirement. Here are our four best tips for adding lifelong learning to your retirement plan.
Discover New Hobbies
Reconnecting with a beloved hobby is the stuff retirement dreams are made of. It’s because the hectic, busy schedules of our middle aged selves robbed us of the things we most love. Like reading books. Like playing golf. Like sewing and crafting and fishing and oh, so much more. Retirement affords us the ability to dedicate time to our hobbies. It also affords us the time to try our hand at new ones.
Why not discover a new passion as a senior? Connecting with a new hobby not only stretches your mind, but can expand your social circles, and create new purpose and excitement in your life. All around, it’s a pretty healthy idea. Why not try your hand at something new? Why not now?
It’s never too late to learn a new hobby. Here’s a few ideas you’re sure to love:
- Healthy cooking
- Bocce ball
- Music or art lessons
Engage with Technology
In today’s tech-run world, there has never been more opportunities to get involved. And discovering new technologies is a great way to stretch the brain. But it’s scary. Research has shown that while seniors and retirees want to get involved in technology, a fear of how to use the technology is the biggest barrier.
And it’s no wonder. Phones and computers, apps and game consoles, even the manuals that explain them are developed by people in their 20s. The jargon is complex. But seniors can reap big benefits from understanding technology. Not only does learning something new benefit your brain, but retirees can better connect with loved ones, manage their finances, even support their health and medications through new technologies.
Video games may not be first to mind for seniors, but studies have found that older adults who game regularly show brain growth in the areas of their brain that control planning, decision making, motor control, balance and even memory.
If you’re looking for help, local community centers often hold “technology for seniors” educational courses. Or, simply reach out to your younger loved ones for tips on gaming, social media and more. Remind them to take the tutorial slow so you can take everything in.
Consider a Second Career
Our grandparents’ generation would probably be shocked to hear that many retirees are reentering the workforce through second careers. But for our grandparents, retirements were a few short years to rest and reflect. Today’s retirements can span 30 years or more and retirees still want to share their skills and expertise.
Choosing to pursue a second career could mean fulfilling a lifelong passion, continuing to provide advisement to a field of expertise or volunteering. Whether full-time or part-time, a second career gives seniors their “second act,” a chance to work, but on their own terms. Learning new skills along the way is an added benefit of a second career, so is improved brain health, enriching social circles and more.
Considering a second career? Click here to read how six retirees second career stories.
Hit the Books
Lifelong learning takes a life of its own as recent trends show retirees hitting the books and heading back to campus. Colleges and universities aren’t the first place you’d look to find older adults, but new programs are being developed by these institutes that market specifically to seniors.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is one program found at colleges across the country that provide seniors with opportunities to explore a new subject, attend workshops, even educational trips with renowned professors.
Community colleges, continuing education programs and more develop workshops and classes on every topic imaginable, from ballroom dancing to basket weaving to electrical work. Many of these courses are designed specifically for seniors.
A key component of aging well is to continue challenging our brains and expanding knowledge. Whether big or small, lifelong learning activities should be part of your healthy retirement plan.
Let us help! Our retirement guide is your first step toward building the retirement of your dreams. Whether you’re in the planning stages or are far down the retirement road, this resource will help you make your later years count. Click HERE to download our retirement resource guide.