The Benefits of Lifelong Learning

man walking with child

The Benefits of Lifelong Learning

Monday, April 15, 2024

Continuing to Learn in Retirement

When people retire, they often consider it an opportunity to kick back and take it easy. Relaxation is only one part of a healthy life, though, and it is important not to allow it to interfere with keeping your mind sharp. An excess of ease can soon become dull, and boredom can often lead to decline. Learning and discovering new things can give your life purpose, and in the years after retirement, continuing to learn brings many benefits. 

What is Lifelong Learning? 

Lifelong learning is the self-driven pursuit of knowledge, through continued education, skill refinement, and personal development. Learning opportunities can be formal or informal, and being a lifelong learner can deeply enrich a person’s life after retirement. When older adults continue to pursue learning opportunities, they expand their horizons and benefit mentally, socially, and emotionally. 

Benefits of Lifelong Learning

  • Engaging in learning activities improves cognitive health. Actively pursuing knowledge reduces the risk of cognitive decline, keeping the mind active and sharp. Learning, understanding, and remembering new concepts can sharpen the mind, slow down decline, and sharpen memory retention skills. 
  • Continuing to learn improves neuron regeneration. The nerve cells responsible for transmitting brain impulses throughout the body must continually regenerate to keep the brain functioning optimally. By improving the process of neuron regeneration, continuing to engage in mentally stimulating activities lowers the risk of memory loss. In fact, there is research to indicate that continuous learning can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Lifelong learning facilitates social interaction. When you take classes, attend lectures, and otherwise engage in educational activities, you are likely to meet like-minded people. This can result in meaningful social interactions and new friendships, alleviating loneliness and reducing isolation. As isolation can be a problem after retirement, having this kind of social outlet is extremely beneficial. 
  • Learning new things is enjoyable and fulfilling. Pursuing new interests can bring personal fulfilment and a sense of accomplishment, increasing self-confidence. For people who have retired, it can rekindle enthusiasm for life and bring new purpose. A renewed sense of purpose can greatly improve a person’s quality of life. 
  • Continuous learning can improve overall health. Lifelong learning doesn’t just improve cognitive function; it boosts emotional resilience and physical health. Engaging in hobbies and learning keeps people active, and this helps people remain healthy.
  • The pursuit of knowledge can lower stress and improve mood. Often, older people struggle with depression and unhappiness. Focusing on new tasks can alleviate stress and decrease blood pressure, whether it’s something as simple as reading a book or as complex as learning to play a musical instrument. Music is beneficial in other ways, too, because it can soothe the mind and help older people deal with challenges in their changing lives. Participating in activities that are cognitively stimulating can enhance mood in addition to improving mental clarity. 
  • Learning new things helps people stay open to change. This adaptability is necessary for navigating the challenges of growing older and living in a rapidly changing world. 
  • In learning, there is give and take. Older people engaged in lifelong learning can learn skills that improve the quality of their lives, like handling finances more effectively, updating life skills, and learning new methods of communication. When interacting with younger people in educational settings, older people can also pass along their wealth of knowledge and life experience, creating a legacy even while learning new things. 

Finding Opportunities to Learn

How does one go about finding educational opportunities in the years following retirement? In truth, the possibilities are near endless! From formal education to the pursuit of hobbies, there is always something new to learn. How will you go about engaging in lifelong learning? We have some great suggestions! 

  • Enroll in traditional academic courses. You do not have to be a recent high school graduate to enroll in college courses. In fact, many colleges and universities offer discounted or free programs for senior citizens. Community centers also offer academic courses, if that is a more convenient option for you. 
  • Take a class online. Online learning is becoming more popular as technology evolves, and there are online courses, webinars, and other educational resources available. Seniors who are computer literate can easily access a wide range of coursework tailored to their specific interests and abilities. While online learning can sometimes be isolating, there are also platforms that facilitate connection with other students. Want to learn a new language? An online course is a wonderful way to accomplish this. 
  • Attend a workshop or seminar. You can easily find lectures, seminars, and workshops on topics that interest you if you look at libraries, community centers, and senior living communities. Topics from politics to art and literature to technology to advances in healthcare to estate planning are just a few of the many things covered in this kind of environment. 
  • Engage in hobbies or creative pursuits. Have you always wanted to learn to paint? Do you love to garden? Do you want to learn to take better pictures or play an instrument? You can look for classes to help you learn these things, research them online, or join a group of fellow enthusiasts so that you can encourage each other. Pursuing your creative passions or learning a new hobby can allow you to express yourself while you are developing a new skill. 
  • Become a volunteer. Schools, museums, and non-profit organizations need volunteers, and this is a perfect way for older people to contribute to their communities, build connections, gain valuable experiences, and learn new skills. 
  • Explore the world. When you travel to new destinations, you are broadening your horizons. Even if you are unable to travel, but can attend cultural events and explore new cuisines, you will find yourself exposed to new ideas that may broaden your perspective. 
  • Engage in intergenerational learning. Sharing your knowledge and skills with younger people through activities like mentoring or tutoring can be extremely rewarding. While you are teaching young people, you will find that you learn from them as well. 
  • Keep up with your reading. Books, newspapers, and online articles are all good sources of information. Researching different subjects helps you stay intellectually engaged and up-to-date on current events. 

A Great Place for an Active Retirement

Are you a senior who embraces curiosity and wants to continuously grow and evolve by staying intellectually active? When you’re choosing a place to spend your retirement, look for somewhere that fosters this passion for knowledge, with plenty of opportunities to learn, grow, connect with your peers and engage in your favorite hobbies. At Parkwood Heights, want our residents to live life to the fullest, as they enjoy all the amenities that make Parkwood a great place to live their best lives. A lovely community in which to spend your retirement, Parkwood Heights is located just minutes from Victor, Fairport, Farmington, and Canandaigua. We offer plenty of opportunities to engage in worthwhile pursuits, whether you’re working in the arts and crafts studio, taking a class, enjoying one of our social events, or going on an outing. Our picturesque, 122-acre senior living campus affords many opportunities to enjoy your time with friends and family, while enjoying our scenic setting. Call (315) 986-9100 to learn more about all that we have to offer, or check out our website and reach out if you have any questions.

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Bev Breen
Bev Breen / Resident

Our servers are wonderful!

Dolores / Resident

I moved to Parkwood Heights in 2005 because I wanted to live closer to my daughter. The activities department was the deciding factor. I enjoy having so many activities and events to choose from. Also, when calculating my expenses to live in my home or to live at Parkwood, the decision was made easier because the cost was about the same.

Elenore Bulau
Elenore Bulau / Resident

I have no qualms about saying the management staff is excellent – always friendly and will drop everything to listen to you.

Helen Lund
Helen Lund / Resident

The maintenance guys are so friendly and take care of our requests promptly

J. Bieler
J. Bieler / Resident

The drivers are super caring people who always do a good job

Jeannette M.
Jeannette M. / Resident

There is a great variety of activities and the staff are willing to do anything!

Ken and Bev Keyes
Ken and Bev Keyes / Family

Ken and I just want to let you know how much we appreciated having our Uncle in the Enriched Program at Parkwood Heights. His apartment was bright and inviting and the care he received by all the staff was wonderful. He could be independent, as well as cared for in relation to his needs. No matter what the day brought, the staff would tell us they loved their jobs and would always have a smile and a hug for everyone, helping to make each day a better day for those around them.

Norma / Resident

I've been living at Parkwood Heights since November of 2000. I am so happy here ~ the people are so nice and there is so much to do. If I didn't like it here I'd be a fool.

Rosa / Family

Here it is just a little over two weeks since we moved Bruce into Parkwood. I just wanted to tell you how pleased we are with Bruce’s transition and acclimation to Parkwood Heights. The entire staff and residents have been so very welcoming, helpful, and supportive.I see a remarkable difference in Bruce’s energy, health, and his avenues of interest….. We owe this to the eager and affirmative attention everyone at Parkwood has given Bruce over these past two weeks…Oh my gosh, I can’t tell you how relieved, rested, and encouraged I feel since Bruce has joined the Parkwood community….




Tom & Donna
Tom & Donna / Family

On January 19th we moved mom from Florida to New York. We were pleased with Parkwood Heights, from staff to the lovely facility. It was a difficult move for mom at the age of 97 as well as us with the arrangements. From day one, all of our questions were answered and we were guided through the move as easily as possible.

Tom and Nancy
Tom and Nancy / Villa Residents

We had been looking around for about 2 years ... we knew that we wanted a spacious villa ... we came to Parkwood because we wanted to do things and they had just what we were looking for. There are so many activities to choose from, places to go and people to visit with. We love it here.