Cashfloat.co.uk, a supplier of instant payday loans in the UK, explores the benefits of seniors learning online, and what options are available to them.
Is technology making the brains of older people more astute? By seniors learning online, are they creating real beneficial effects? Some recent research has shown that using technology and keeping up with the latest innovations on the Internet is making older people appear younger, at least as far as cognitive function is concerned. The mental stimulation provided by trying to understand how to operate sophisticated gadgets means that some over 60’s are scoring better than ever in cognitive powers tests.
This idea is a turnaround from the previous assumption that using technology would stop people from using their brains and thinking up their own solutions. If you stop for a moment and consider how many passwords and user names are needed for even just a few applications like Internet banking, social media and online shopping sites, then it is no wonder that the brain activity in older people is now rated so highly by the experts who test them.
Once a person has signed into a programme or application they are often faced with multiple choices or complicated instructions and this leads to a need for decision making. All of these options help to speed up the way the brain processes information and can contribute to delaying the ageing progression. Using technology at work and at home has changed the lifestyle of many people and the increase of communication through emails, messaging and the adoption of social media sites means that the cognitive skills of seniors are better than those of previous generations of the same age group.
There is no doubt that overall the IQ of humans has increased with every generation and this can be put down to many factors. Better education and better living circumstances are just two but these are not the only factors that explain why older people are now sharper and are, in fact, embracing technology instead of ignoring it or refusing to engage with the latest programs. The use of technology has been a contributory factor and many people now consider 60 to be the new 40. A substantial amount of individuals in their 60’s are as familiar with the basic technology terms like ‘router’ or ‘Wi-Fi’ as their younger counterparts. So, the old saying of not being able to teach an old dog new tricks is being turned on its head.
What can be learned online? Pretty much anything if the advertisements are anything to go by. You no longer need to attend cookery school or even buy a cook book (although Jamie Oliver is still as popular as ever). All the recipes and instructions are available online and there are lots of Youtube videos to show you exactly how the process of food preparation and cooking should be done. There are forums where you can discuss your progress and many people decide to form a local group and meet up to share their interests.
You can find interactive websites that will show you how to play the guitar or the ukulele. Women or men can learn how to crochet or knit without having lessons from their Mum and without fear of ridicule, and there are thousands of learning courses which are free to anyone who wants to try something different. However, one of the best and most enlightening experiences for the over 60’s is the intellectual stimulation that they can get from the vast number of educational courses that are now available.
The over 60’s are the age group that can most benefit from online learning and many of them are taking advantage of these free resources. A great deal of people who are now in their 60’s were denied the chance to go to university or college even though they were intelligent enough. Pressure to get a job and start earning, allowing them essential funds to live without needing short term loans for students combined with the easy availability of employment when they were young meant that many of today’s seniors missed out on higher education. But, now they are making up for lost time.
The Open University is one of the many organisations that provides online learning for free, and there is a broad range of courses with something for everyone no matter what their interests. You can learn about a period of history, try your hand at higher maths and even learn about security in the cyber world. Whatever your interests there will be a course that will fit your needs. And, it’s all free. Nothing’s stopping those seniors learning online! Imagine how different some older people’s live could have been if this type of learning had been available half a century ago.
Many people in their 60’s have used the Internet to develop a hobby that has then turned into paid work. Most people have a book in them and now that it is so easy to publish an ebook online for free, there has been an upsurge in new novelists some of whom are well over 60. The Internet is not just being used for entertainment or day to day tasks like banking or shopping. It is a source of unlimited intellectual stimulation with the over 60’s embracing the incredible amount of resources that are free for everyone, with seniors learning online more and more.
Society is ageing but with the availability of the Internet in all walks of life, the world is still an oyster with so many new learning experiences on offer to everyone no matter what their age. As life expectancy is still on the increase and despite the best efforts of the government to make us work until we drop down dead, many people face long years of retirement. Seniors learning online is helping the over 60’s to prolong their learning experience and is giving them the mental and intellectual stimulation that could help to keep them younger for longer.
Making the Internet available to people in their 60’s who are live in sheltered housing or retirement homes could well be a step that would help those who feel isolated to engage more with the wider world. Up until very recently, there has been very little research into the kind of skills that older people need in order to get the best use out of the Internet. More support for seniors learning online use, or even the basics such as how to use a computer or tablet, would maybe help to motivate those over 60’s who are currently missing out on all that the Internet has to offer.