Back to School for Seniors in Charlotte

Why Lifelong Learning is Good For You, and Finding Learning Opportunities for Seniors in Charlotte

Autumn is coming and that means one thing – it’s back to school season for seniors in Charlotte! That’s right – school is back in session for people of all ages in Charlotte, NC. That’s because learning and continued education is good for everyone, not just children. Older adults can benefit from lifelong learning as it enhances understanding of the world, provides better opportunities and improves quality of life.

Research shows that education can provide real health benefits. Scientists believe that lifelong learning can help maintain cognition, which is the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through experience, thought and the senses. Cognitive function, which includes reasoning, memory, attention and language, helps a person attain knowledge.

Cognition can decline as you age. In fact, cognitive health seems to be a “use it or lose it” proposition, in that learning keeps brain cells working at an optimum level. Keeping brain cells active helps limit age-related cognitive decline and memory problems.

Benefits of Lifelong Learning for Older Adults

Harvard Business Review (HBR) says that lifelong learning is “good for your health, your wallet and your social life.” HBR notes studies that show well researched and substantial links between formal education and lifetime earnings, for example, that a person with bachelor’s degree can earn $210,000 more over a lifetime than could someone with a high school diploma. While older adults are not always interested in boosting their income after retirement, many enjoy taking advanced classes in their careers.

Learning new skills can promote cognitive function, according to research, and can even extend the time you will remain sharp as you age. That research shows that learning a new skill changes the white matter in the parts of your brain responsible for memory and other important executive functions.

The results of one study showed that cognitively active older adults were 2.6 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than were those adults who engaged in less cognitive activity. In that 2012 study, known as the Rush Memory and Aging Project, researchers studied the cognitive activity and cognitive decline in more than 1,200 people. While education cannot change the physical biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease, according to another study, it can support better cognitive performance.

Research also shows that lifelong learning is good for your physical health. One study suggests that every year full of  formal learning can add six months to your life.

Lifelong learning can also keep you connected socially. Adult education helps you meet new people with common interests and discover new ideas about the world around you.

Engaging in lifelong learning provides a sense of satisfaction, achievement and fulfillment. Most adults simply enjoy the feeling of accomplishment or knowledge they gain by engaging in lifelong learning.

Where to Participate in Lifelong Learning in Charlotte, NC

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers professional development classes and certificate programs in business, accounting, law, human resources, management, paralegal, engineering, project management, information technology, event planning and exam preparation.

UNC Charlotte has three convenient locations: UNC Charlotte Center City, UNC Charlotte Main Campus and Online. They also offer in-house custom training programs on-site.

Queens University of Charlotte

Queens University of Charlotte offers many non-degree programs and classes that help older adults stay sharp and connected. Older adults can attend this small, private university nestled in the historic neighborhood of Myers Park for such programs as:

– Certified Financial Planner

– Creative Writing Certificate

– Estate Planner’s Day – covers estate planning, tax, accounting, insurance and state and federal law

– HR Leadership Summit

– Music Academy Lessons or Music Therapy Clinic

– Senior Scholars – education program for adults aged 50 and older who want intellectual stimulation without a long-term commitment

– TWIST Conference for Women in Leadership

Central Piedmont Community College

Central Piedmont Community College offers practical and personal enrichment courses in topics that include automotive, culture, culinary arts, personal finance, language learning, floral design, Alzheimer’s disease, fitness, dementia care and more.

The Cypress of Charlotte

The Cypress has a full-time Concierge and an Activities Coordinator on hand who can help you arrange taking continuing education courses, study the arts, listen to a range of speakers and join field trips that help keep your mind active.

Lifelong learning can help slow the cognitive effects of aging, expand your social circles and even pad your wallet. For more information on continuing education, contact us today.

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