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Reflections on Aging by Sally Perkins

My name is Sally and I am the Content Manager for a small senior care and advice site. I know you are busy, so I won’t take too much of your time. We have researched 7 signs people should look out for in elderly relatives, neighbors, and loved ones, which might suggest they are struggling to live by themselves. Please take a look here:

Never Too Late For New Tricks – Educational Opportunities for Retirees 

For many, retirement is the first point at which they can begin to relax and enjoy their own pursuits, having toiled hard at work and possibly at bringing up a family for decades! There are of course holidays and hobbies to enjoy, but for many these benefits of retirement soon begin to pale; relaxation soon turns to boredom and there are only so many holidays a pension will pay for. Without the mental challenge that a job provides, many struggle to acclimatize to retirement, so taking on a new educational challenge is the perfect opportunity to both stimulate the mind, while potentially meeting a new group of like-minded friends.

New Tricks

There are growing opportunities available and for the retiree, the more intellectually challenging the better, in order to stimulate the mind. Distance learning programs provide for those who want to pursue educational opportunities from the comfort of their own home, and this is ideal for many as they offer a mixture of online learning with social engagement.  

There are a range of courses available to suit every interest, from more academic forays into the arts and history, to more holistic courses focused on maintaining physical, mental and emotional well-being. Participation in these courses has a number of rewards attached; the reward of learning a new skill, the possibility of a new social network of like-minded adults, as well as the positive impacts attributed to lifelong learning on the mind, such as improvements in memory. Many find themselves able to focus on a lifelong dream, for example, learning a new skill like photography, or being able to focus on academics after a life spent toiling hard manually, when careers or family commitments have prevented them from doing so earlier.

New Friends

Friendships can become essential lifelines during retirement. While some start retirement looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet, this can become lonely quickly. If a person becomes isolated, they lose opportunities to exercise their social skills and mental faculties, and this in itself has been linked to a deterioration in mental state, becoming more likely that an elderly person may ‘lose touch’ with the real world; some studies have even linked isolation with an earlier age of death.

Those engaged in lifelong learning are unlikely to be lonely; if enrolled on a course they have a passion for, no matter how reserved they may be they often find it difficult to keep quiet! Maintaining a good social network is essential to keep people engaged with day-to-day life and preventing them from feeling isolated, but it also means more support in recognizing if more care is needed. Participation in an online course will necessitate more social interaction which may help to further build a network of trusted friends and acquaintances.

Typically, interactions will take place via email to start with, often with course tutors, and then widen towards participation in chatroom discussions and physical face-to-face seminars and visits. Additionally, opportunities for further study may necessitate trips to the library, museum or bookstore, and these in themselves may open opportunities for socializing.

It really is true that it is never too late to start learning. As retirees enter their ‘golden years’ they are more likely to maintain mental sharpness and emotional well-being if they can find something they are passionate enough about to be keen to learn and participate in. Online learning networks provide a range of opportunities to learn new and develop pre-existing skills from the safe environment of the home, and this often comes hand-in-hand with developing a new social circle. 


The Winter Park Foundation of Florida has joined the Senior Learning Network! Six of their centers will now receive programming at their center and will be able to allow residents within their homes join as well.  The is a wonderful collaboration and we are looking forward to providing quality lifelong learning to the centers.

March 2017