15 December 2016



“Anyone who stops learning is old whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”             - Henry Ford

Learning is an important positive ageing strategy to help you remain vital in your later years. Learning in old age preserves intellectual functioning and ward off memory decline (dementia) which is very common in old age.  By learning new things you are improving your brain health-your mental faculty, attention, memory. There is a saying- “use it or loose it”. If you are not using your brain you will loose its functioning. Learning is a life long process. If you are continuing your self educating you will stay up to date.

Learning, like physical exercise, is effective when you develop a habit or pattern of doing it. Learning to begin with requires some initial effort. If you persist it will become easier to do and you will get satisfaction from the out come. Learning needs persistence and sustained effort. Do not worry about slow process of your learning.  Remember you are not  going to be examined.  Suppose you want to learn some musical instrument  you may encounter some difficulty, don’t loose your motivation to learn.

You may raise a question –“ what one should learn” ?  It is an important question. The answer is - it depends on your choice or interest or your curiosity to know.  Desire to learning is the strongest motivation. For learning in old age strict class room setting is not essential.  Life long learning is an expanding  learning beyond class room settings and into the home. You may use Internet and computer, ( you may join senior internet net works) Radio , Television, Print media etc.

Learning in old age is a form of personal fulfillment.  This is your opportunity  to exercise your true interests  and pursue something  simply because you are interested in it or you are curious about it. First you examine your beliefs about your self as a learner. Therefore, it is suggested that ask your self prior to  perusing  a learning opportunity :

A.  How do I learn ?
B.    What do I want to learn ?
You are still capable to learn. Learning can help you remain intellectually active. So mobilize your resources of learning . First you must have belief that you may learn new things,( or learning is possible in old age), Identify your curiosities or interests and  know your learning strengths and weaknesses.
You may learn music, new  language, writing, game or some skill of your interest.  The benefit  from  learning  will come with time, learning involves persistence and patience.
Learning in later life is optional. Therefore, learning can be a hobby or a leisure pursuit.
The senior citizens who pursued educational experiences expressed the following views :
*Learning is how I became more engaged with others
*I like learning because it opens up new ways of thinking and relating to the world.
*It’s fun to learn new things.
*I enjoy the challenge of acquiring new skills’ learning makes me feel more youthful.
*When I learn. I challenge the saying “ you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.
 Cognitively impaired elderly can  also learn. Learning  in such cases is  very useful as a strategy   to give boost to   their self-enhancement. Cognitively impaired persons ( persons with AD) have curiosity, creativity and intact sensory processes. Family care givers should  motivate elderly person to learn some thing-/some skill/ some activity.
Learning requires the integration of social, emotional, aesthetic, spiritual and cognitive domains. The whole person is considered. Care givers should provide an opportunity for the elderly to explore familiar materials in meaningful ways so that he may interact with others as a consequence of the process.

Respect and caring are at the foundation of educational  curriculum for  such elderly persons. 


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