Could learning a new language "remodel" the brain?
When some people retire, they choose to pick up a new language and learn about a different culture. This may not only provide a useful skill to retirees when they travel abroad, but new research indicates it could also help keep the brain active.
"The evidence is very dramatic. Even if you are in a context that is utterly monolingual, where you think there is absolutely no reason to think about Chinese or Spanish or French, it is part of the activated network that's going on in your brain," psychologist Ellen Bialystok told NPR.
One reason for the ongoing mental activity is because the vocabulary of two distinct languages has to be kept separated by the brain at all times. In a sense, this is a way you can continually exercise your mind to help ensure that you stay sharp.
Bialystok added that there is an emerging body of evidence that shows that being bilingual may physically "remodel" some parts of the brain.
Del Webb retirement communities such as Sun City Anthem in Florence, Arizona, are partnered with lifelong leaning institutes so that residents have access to top-tier universities. So, whether you want to learn a new language - or about history, economics or English - it's just a matter of signing up for a class.
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In years past, it may have seemed unusual to see scores of older adults heading back to the classroom, but that is no longer the case. Many retirees make lifelong learning a priority once they leave the workforce, and few people are more emblematic of this growing trend than 92-year-old Ruth Elliott.
After retiring, adults have many decisions to make. Do they want to embark on an encore career? Travel? Perhaps they want to volunteer. But one of the most popular options for boomers is heading back to the classroom.
The baby boomer generation has been shaping travel trends for decades, and now as millions of its members are heading toward retirement, it is doing the same thing once again.
Heading back to the classroom has become a popular retirement activity for older adults.