Keeping mentally fit through lifelong learning

A study by Columbia University, published recently in an article by The Times, revealed that people can prevent brain deterioration by leading a healthier lifestyle and keeping mentally fit through continued learning.

Studies such as this prove that lifelong learning can be and must be part of the answer to our society’s current challenges including that of an aging population.

In mid-2014, the average age exceeded 40 for the first time. By 2040, nearly one in seven people is projected to be aged over 75, according to a report by the Government Office for Science. Learning will become of even greater importance as the population ages.

The majority of our students are over 60 years old and we know from our work that adult learning can help to tackle the issues facing an aging population including loneliness, isolation and health issues.

Our courses are based in the community and are group activities, specifically encouraging people to engage with people in their local area.  Learning throughout our lifetime will help us to participate for longer in the labour market, build personal and mental resilience and bring health and wellbeing benefits. Lifelong learning brings benefits to individuals and the wider society that will be increasingly valuable in an ageing population. Despite this, participation in adult education has fallen in recent years.

Our own research shows that through engaging with adult education, 96 percent of our students said their course keeps their mind active, 86 percent made new friends, two-fifths were motivated to improve their health and 43 percent keep physically active following their course. 

Do you know family members, friends or neighbours who could benefit from adult education? Tell them about the wide variety of courses we offer