Are you looking to stay sharp and ward off the possibility of developing dementia? You may be surprised to learn that senior adult education classes can help you do just that. A growing body of research suggests that ongoing education can help keep your brain healthy and reduce your risk of cognitive decline. In fact, simply taking one class at a local college has benefits for your brain! If you’re an older adult who wants to learn more about the link between education and dementia, here’s how taking classes as a senior can benefit you.
Research shows that education can boost cognitive function and protect against age-related decline. Yes, you read that right! In fact, with each additional year of education, there may be an 11% decrease in the risk of developing dementia (according to the University of Cambridge). Another study found that people who had gone beyond high school were more likely to stay mentally sharp as they age. According to that study, people with college degrees generally have careers that provide constant mental stimulation. This is one of the many keys to keeping your mind sharp! Experts also believe that education can help build up the brain’s “cognitive reserve“, which makes it better able to withstand the effects of aging and disease. Maybe this is why people always say knowledge is power!
Senior adult education classes come in many forms, from community college courses to online seminars to local workshops. Participating in these classes can help you stay engaged, social, and intellectually stimulated. They can also introduce you to new ideas, skills, and perspectives. In addition to lowering your risk of dementia, research shows that education may have positive effects on your mental health. For example, in one study, an extra year of education led to a lower likelihood of anxiety and depression. The same study showed that more educated people might be less prone to anxiety and depression, as well.
When considering senior adult education classes, look for subjects that interest you and match your skill level. Also, make sure you find a class that challenges you and requires active participation! This can help stimulate your brain and build cognitive reserve. If you’re looking for a social outlet, look into classes that involve group discussion or collaboration. Online courses can also be a great option for seniors who may have mobility or transportation limitations. Fortunately, with technology, you can still get a great education and learn new skills—right from the comfort of your own home!
Of course, taking classes isn’t the only way to boost brain health! You can also make other lifestyle changes to help ward off dementia and other memory disorders. Some of those changes include:
Make sure you stay on top of any chronic health conditions and get regular check-ups with your doctor! By taking a holistic approach to brain health, you can maximize your chances of staying mentally sharp as you age.
Finally, make the most of your education by staying motivated and engaged! Even if you don’t have homework or tests, take it seriously. Set goals for yourself, take notes, and actively participate in class discussions. Seek out opportunities for further learning, such as reading relevant articles or joining study groups. And don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way. Every new skill or idea is a victory worth celebrating!
Whether you’re interested in history, art, science, or technology, there’s a class out there for you. Plus, did you know that many colleges offer TUITION-FREE classes for seniors? Click HERE to find out more. So, why not give it a try? Your brain (and your soul) will thank you for it!
Originally published September 01, 2023