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  • Jackie Mayo

What have you learned lately?

I just signed up for a subscription to Stria which is an online media platform for the longevity market. While it is a bit pricey, I am pleasantly surprised with the content it offers and my hope is to be able to share highlights of interesting articles and ideas with you in the blogs you will find at the Knoxville Aging in Place website.


One of the first articles that caught my eye was written by Jeanette Leardi. She is a social gerontologist and specializes in aging issues. Her website is www.jeanetteleardi.com. Her article was titled, “Old Dogs, New Tricks: A Look at How Older Adults Learn.”


I must admit that the titled intrigued me because I have found myself on a learning journey of late. I have become interested in photography, entrepreneurship, social media marketing and many other topics that I have not had time to pursue. While the learning curve on many of these topics sometimes seems overwhelming to me, I have found that I like the challenge. How about you? Do you like to take on a learning challenge? It is such a good feeling when you master a new idea or skill.


Dr. Andrea Creech, a professor in music education in Canada, is quoted in the article as saying, “There is much evidence now that supports the view that older adults can learn new things and want to learn new things.”


The author of the article asks the question, “What motivates older learners?” There are, of course, many reasons, older adults continue to learn. For some, it may be to keep a job or take a new job. For others, it may be to start a business. Some older adults like to learn for the sake of learning. It keeps your mind sharp, and hopefully, it will stave off cognitive decline. Learning to your brain is as important as exercising your body to stay physically fit for good health.


The executive director of Older Adults Technology Services, Dr. Thomas Kamber, shared in the same Stria article that “research shows that older people sometimes absorb certain kinds of information more slowly, but this is offset by deeper ability to contextualize and apply new concepts.”


If you have a goal and you must learn something new to reach that goal, you are more inclined to meet your goal. It is similar to winning the race after all the practice you do in preparation for the race.


Go ahead and set a goal of learning something new. Relax and take your time and don’t worry about how long it takes you. The journey may be full of twists, turns and challenges making it exciting and fun along the way. Happy learning!

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