By Guest Blogger, Karen Weeks
Skills for Seniors to Learn to Keep Them Sharp, Active, and Engaged
It’s important for seniors to keep themselves active and social – but when it comes to preventing cognitive decline it’s not enough to stay inside your comfort zone. According to Psychological Science, research shows that seniors who challenge themselves by learning new skills show mental improvements far beyond those who are simply socially active or who participate in activities they are already familiar with. Beyond the mental benefits, it’s just flat out fun to learn new skills in our golden years. Here are some great options.
Get familiar with new technology
There’s a common stereotype about seniors and technology. Surely you know the one: seniors just don’t care about and are pretty bad at modern tech. It does have some basis in reality, however. Seniors are, on the whole, less likely to keep up with new technological advancements. But learning how to utilize our era’s amazing tech is vital to living a long, productive life. There are a couple ways you can go about doing this. The first is online classes/tutorials. The second is in person community-based tech courses which will allow you to learn with other seniors. The Huffington Post has a good list of options here, including SeniorNet, Lifelong Learning Institutes, and Oasis Connections.
Learn something that will make you some side income
Whether or not you have cushy retirement funds is irrelevant. There’s always interest in making a little extra money on the side – especially if you make that money while doing something interesting.
Learning how to be a real estate agent is one great option. Seniors who have worked their whole lives in business, customer service, construction, architecture, or any sort of sales already have a leg up – a lifetime of skills that can be applied to this lucrative part-time job. It’s flexible and doesn’t cost too much up front in terms of licensing/training. Check out this guide on how to get started.
Learn about health, nutrition, and exercise
Is knowing how to exercise a skill? Absolutely. It’s not enough to simply lift a couple of weights or walk around the block. If you truly understand exercise, you’ll be able to help keep your body strong and healthy as you age. Couple that with some deep, firm knowledge about cooking, clean eating, and proper nutrition? You’re set.
Group exercise is something that can benefit you physically and socially. Just check out your local gyms, community centers, senior centers, or YMCA for information. Then head on over here and look for some free online course about nutrition and healthy diet.
Get up and dance
The beauty of dance is that it’s fun, easy, a great workout, and it’s something to do with your loved ones. Dance helps keep seniors engaged and can work to improve your relationship with your significant other. Livestrong.org even says that “the American Council on Exercise suggests that dancing for aerobic fitness also can help improve your memory.” Hone your skills with some free online tutorial videos and then take your dancing public. Most communities around the country have various types of dance classes – from swing to ballroom to even hip-hop for the more adventurous.
Sure, learning a new skill is fun at any age. But it cannot be emphasized enough just how beneficial it is for seniors. Time and time again, research has shown that not all activities are created equal. Socializing and doing puzzles and other brain games at home is good, but if you want to stay truly sharp you will challenge yourself to learn something new.