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Ageing – Part 4

31 days to go

A third ageing myth is that ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’.  There is a wrongful perception that the older we become then the less able we are to learn new skills or master new hobbies.  These myths are perpetuated by us through our lives and can become our own beliefs as to our capabilities in older age.  If we believe we are not able to do something then we limit our possibilities.

When it comes to learning new skills, research has shown time and again that we are more than able to learn throughout life.

As babies through early years we learn multiple skills simultaneously. A study reported in 2019 sought to test whether we retained this ability through life. Over a three month period they had older adults aged 58 to 75 years learning three different skills simultaneously, learning a language, drawing and music composition.

Results showed that “learning multiple skills is feasible and potentially beneficial for healthy older adults. Learning multiple skills simultaneously increased cognitive abilities in older adults to levels similar to performance in a separate sample of middle-aged adults, 30 years younger.

As well as the cognitive benefits of learning new skills, the settings for teaching those skills will often offer opportunities for meeting new people and enhancing social contact and friendships.

Most of us have pipe dreams of things we would like to do or learn but don’t write them off as even if you don’t have time right now, the opportunity will present itself at some point in the future. What new tricks do you plan to learn?

A river cuts through rock, not because of its power but because of its persistence