Learning New Things and Aging

Virtually everyone remains capable of learning throughout their lives. There is no known age at which the elderly lose their ability to learn new things although due to illness and other medical issues, many can and do experience increased difficulties in learning.

It may appear as if the elderly have failed to grasp any new ideas. This is not because they have been unable to learn, but because they may choose not to risk making mistakes and looking foolish – a caution which the old share with younger people.

There may be times when the old person may have either mental and/or physical impairments that can interfere with what they have already assimilated.

Circumstances can deprive this individual of an opportunity to take in information needed for reliable decision-making and a continuous intellectual curiosity, or this information may go by too quickly and in an unsatisfactory form. For example, the print may be too small to read, or the voice too inaudible to clearly hear.

Whether this individual has actually learned much in a particular situation is not the question. It is whether he is capable of learning. The answer is an emphatic yes – given a little help!

Yes, there may be age-related disabilities, yet it is still likely that an elderly person learns more than we give him credit for.

A recent study on aging demonstrated continued learning that occurs during the second phase of the aged individual’s lifespan.

A positive thought to close on: the young as well as the elderly can, in fact acquire new learning comprehension as they age. This should give pause to those who no longer believe this is still possible.

Here is my belief on learning and aging that can be understood in terms of the following five key points:

  1. By living an active and productive lifestyle.
  2. By maintaining close relationships with family and community.
  3. By staying involved with significant activities.
  4. By living each day with hopeful expectations.
  5. By giving aid and comfort to those who are less fortunate.

In my opinion, this is learning in its finest and truest form.

Quotable Quote: “A house without books is like a room without windows.” — Author: Anon
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