Senior Citizen's Guide to Washington County Spring/Summer Edition 2017 - page 24

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Ima g i n e t h e ex c i t eme n t
of exploring the historical and
cultural treasures of the Tuscan
countryside, the thrill of taking part
in a lively discussion about the life
and works of Vincent Van Gogh,
or the satisfaction that comes from
helping a reluctant student discover
the value of education. There’s no
doubt such experiences would spice
up your life. The good news is that
all this can be yours by indulging
in lifelong learning.
A healthy Mind/Body/Spirit
connection is critical to getting
the most out of life at any age.
As people age, however, this
connection becomes even more
important. Lifelong learning, as
older adults are discovering, can
help strengthen that connection.
There are many different ways,
both formal and informal, to engage
in lifelong learning. Reading a
newspaper or a good book, or
working crossword puzzles are
all considered informal lifelong
learning. So, in some ways, just
about everyone is a lifelong learner.
A study conducted for AARP
by Roper Starch Worldwide, Inc.
in 1999 bears this out. It showed
that over 90% of surveyed adults
age 50 and over do plan to continue
learning as they age. When asked
Lifelong Learning
A Health Club for the Mind, Body, and Spirit
why, participants said they wanted
to keep up with what’s going on
in the world. They also wanted to
continue their personal and spiritual
growth, and have fun by learning
something new.
Although informal lifelong
learning takes place regularly, there
are also many formal ways to reap
the numerous benefits of lifelong
learning. For example, older adults
can take non-credit classes on
almost any topic at local lifelong
learning programs. They can also
learn and explore the world through
educational travel programs. Or,
they can choose to give back to their
communities by using their skills
and experiences to help enrich the
lives of others through meaningful
civic service. Lifelong learning is
really all about ways to keep the
mind, body, and spirit stimulated,
challenged, and fully engaged in
the “After-50” years.
There are good reasons to do
so. Research during the 1990s,
a decade of pioneering brain
research, proved that a stimulated
mind promotes a healthy brain.
The studies were conducted at
many research facilities including
Harvard, Duke, and Johns Hopkins
Universities and showed that
keeping brains stimulated helps
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