Advantages of School?

Going back to school may delay the onset of Dementia. Each year, more and more grown adults are going back to school. The benefits are many—mentally and socially—and returning to higher education may delay the onset on dementia.

The Young and the Restless

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, one-fourth of America’s college students are going back to school after age 30. For many, getting older means getting better, especially for those who are restless to improve. In addition, there’s so much information these days about how keeping our brains active may delay dementia. Whether it’s re-entering a classroom or self-directed instruction, it seems lifelong learning is one key to good, prolonged health.
Durga Kami of Nepal is 68 years old. He is a grandfather who’s wife died a few years back. He never finished his sophomore year and decided it was time to go back to school. Kami is the oldest 10th grader, but stands as a role model and inspires the young students.

The Benefits of Continuing Education

The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that “health” includes physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Older adults are encouraged to stay as active as possible to extend healthy life expectancy. This would incorporate learning as an aim to prevent cognitive decline.
Many European countries have launched programs, such as University of the Third Age (U3A). The design is to encourage continued lifetime learning whether it’s online-based or in a physical, continuing-education classroom. Research has shown that learning environments can help reduce mental decline due to aging, perhaps even the effects of dementia.

Cognitive Benefits

In addition to increased cognitive benefits, going back to school can improve mood disorders. Older adults are less inclined to be depressed in a social setting. Also, staying mentally active improves self-image. Those who received degrees later in life have boosted self-confidence and greater opportunity for employment. Some jobs that exist today did not 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Learning new skills (especially technology) opens a whole new world for many older-generation students.
Returning to a college classroom can be daunting. It may be intimidating. It also may require some juggling, especially if you’re a family caretaker. With commitment and courage, it can be done.
It may be too soon to determine concretely if continued learning delays dementia. As more “non-traditional” students age, research will offer more specific proof. In the meanwhile, we know that keeping the brain active helps us feel young and more satisfied. For other life-enhancing articles, check out