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Seniors who return to the classroom embody the adage that “you’re never too old to learn something new.” It’s not just about new knowledge and expertise, though—it’s also about an array of benefits that go along with the power of education.
Research shows that seniors improve their cognitive function as they engage in thinking and recalling facts. They also reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s by pursuing continued academic enrichment. There’s the benefit of staying up on current technology, too, and having a sense of purpose and self-sufficiency. Furthermore, college can be affordable for older adults—seniors who meet income requirements can enroll in any state college tuition-free, including the University of Illinois.
The act of learning can be different for everyone. It could include a formal return to school, taking a workshop, or trying out a new mobile app. It really is up to the learner, and their interests and comfort level. Throughout our lives, we learn through a variety of ways and in a variety of places, whether it’s how to ride a bike, play an instrument, or in a classroom.
According to this piece, lifelong learning fosters social connections that might not exist otherwise. Time in a class may result in new and better friendships among people with similar interests. It also can be empowering to share new information and knowledge with peers, too.
The story of Joyce DeFauw shows what’s possible with a commitment to learning. Recently, at the age of 90, DeFauw received a bachelor’s degree in General Studies from Northern Illinois University. “I’ve learned that I can do things I never thought I could do, with the help of others. You can never quit learning,” the mother of nine says.
There are a number of stimulating learning opportunities both on and off the Friendship Village of Schaumburg campus. Residents of the senior living community regularly hear from experts who visit campus, as well as academic institutions including Institute for Continued Learning-Roosevelt University and Harper College’s Lifelong Learning Institute. Educational programs span lectures and presentations on topics spanning history to travel to politics.
There may be no more worthy endeavor than the pursuit of knowledge. And is it turns out, there are opportunities to do just that for a lifetime.