Learning as you age has many benefits. It can help you stay physically, mentally, and socially sharp — which is critical to your whole health. Here are some ways you can keep your brain engaged, build your skill set, and continue to learn after retirement.
1. Hit the books
Retiring from your lifelong career likely feels like a breath of fresh air. But it's also a major transition and may leave you feeling restless and craving a sense of purpose. Why not pursue your passions and go back to school? Many public and private institutions across the U.S. offer continuing education opportunities for seniors. You may be able to take classes for free or at a very low cost. Plus, there's no limit on age when applying for financial aid. Feel invigorated by the opportunity to learn something new.
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2. Dust off your board games
Break out your old Monopoly board or chess set and invite the neighbors over for a game night. According to a New England Journal of Medicine , participation in leisure activities is associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Researchers followed a group of 469 healthy adults age 75 and older. They were assessed for five years. Those who played board games had better cognitive activity than those who didn't. If you're playing solo, solitaire can help enrich your brain functioning as well.
3. Get handy
If burying yourself in books at school isn't your thing, consider a different type of classroom learning. Try something more hands-on at a trade school. Take a masonry class, get your real estate license, or even learn how to bartend. If you're craving creativity, look into painting or photography classes or even music lessons. The opportunities are endless, and you'll feel great trying your hand at something new while meeting people.
4. Do good for others
Over the years, you've built so many valuable skills throughout your career and life experiences. Put those talents to good use by volunteering. If you've worked as an accountant, see if there's a local church or small business that needs help with their books. If you're a retired teacher, look into tutoring opportunities at your local library or schools. Whatever your skill or expertise is, there's something you can do to benefit your community. Plus, volunteering has many health benefits.
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