Knowing multiple languages is a great skill, and the learning itself can be beneficial too.
A great deal of time, dedication, and hard work is required to learn a new language, and it is easy to get discouraged and not quite see the point of trying so late in life. The reality is, however, that the time and effort that goes in to learning a new language is entirely worth it and can enrich seniors lives in a whole host of wonderful ways.
There is a common misconception that seniors are too old to learn a new language. While it is true that younger brains can often pick up new languages more easily, it is absolutely untrue that seniors are unable to learn another language just because they are older. With some work and dedication, seniors can pick up on the patterns and nuances that are required to learn a new language and can become fluent.
Benefits for Seniors
Being multi-lingual is a wonderful and interesting skill to have, and there are many ways in which the process of learning new languages can benefits seniors.
- Cognitive Strength: Learning a new language helps the brain to be flexible and efficient and can help seniors improve and hone skills that help with quick-thinking and decision-making.
- Better Memory: The practice of learning a new language exercises the brain in a way that increases the ability to remember things and access memories efficiently.
- Self-Esteem: Learning a new skill such as a language creates a sense of mastery that is incredible for seniors’ self-esteem.
- Social Connections: Learning and practicing a new language is something that is best done socially. Seniors leaning to speak a new language can attend classes and groups with other individuals where they can use their new skills socially and forge meaningful connections based on a common interest. This can help to combat isolation and create new friendships.
- Easy Travel: Sometimes journeying to stay or vacation in a place where the language is different can be daunting. Learning a new language opens possibilities for greater ease when visiting or staying in countries or areas where that language is spoken.
- Fight off Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Studies have shown that individuals who speak more than one language have an extra support to executive functioning skills that can decrease or put off age-related decline and things like Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
There are so many ways to learn languages these days. Whether it be books, classes, applications, websites, or tutors, there is something that will work for everyone. The cognitive, social, and personal benefits of learning to speak a new language are wonderful and seniors can enjoy having new skills to put into practice.