Many seniors today are choosing to return to school. Some are doing it simply for self-edification, while others may want to continue working in a different field after they have retired. Whatever your elderly loved one’s reasons for pursuing a higher education, he or she has much to potentially gain. The Bridgewater live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance discuss a few of those advantages.
Increased Social Interaction
Seniors who are retired may not get out as much and interact less with others. Social interaction can help your loved one live longer by boosting both physical and emotional health. Older adults who go back to school often experience a renewed sense of vitality as they absorb the energy of the younger students surrounding them, which can help them remain physically active. Socially engaged seniors also have a reduced risk for depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
The brain is a muscle that must be exercised to maintain optimal function. When seniors challenge themselves by learning new information or skills, they strengthen the synaptic connections of the brain. The electrochemical pathways found in the brain are shaped and expanded to accommodate the activity. When seniors stop learning, their brains tend to eliminate unused neural pathways. These neural networks can be compared to a freeway system. The more traffic your loved one has, the bigger the network needs to be to handle the load.
Reduced Risk of Illness
Elderly individuals who are higher educated report fewer acute and chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The exact reason for this is unclear. However, it may be because people with higher educations tend to engage in fewer risky behaviors, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. They are also more likely to have lifestyles that include a healthy diet and exercise.
Lifelong learning can provide your loved one with a sense of self-worth and accomplishment. Older adults who continue their education are better equipped to handle the challenges of aging and life in general, and they have a better understanding of who they are and the world around them. Education also increases communication skills, making it easier to share concerns and frustrations with others, which can reduce stress and anxiety.
Though going back to school can be a wonderful way for your loved one to enhance his or her overall health, there are other ways this can be achieved. For additional strategies to help your loved one stay physically active and mentally and socially stimulated, reach out to Home Care Assistance. All of our caregivers are trained in the revolutionary Balanced Care Method, an evidence-based program focused on promoting healthy lifestyle factors like sharp minds and social ties. For more information on at-home care Bridgewater seniors can count on, call one of our friendly Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a free in-home consultation.