Lifelong learning can help residents feel connected and included in the mainstream of everyday life. Stimulated brains are key to a healthy life!
We all have natural abilities, some of which we have never had the chance to develop; but it is never too late! Many elderly residents are interested and capable of learning new things. Learning opportunities can help them find more joy and fulfilment from daily life.
Lifelong learning opportunities inspire and stimulate residents while helping to stave off feelings of loneliness by providing opportunities for social engagement, another important factor influencing well-being.
Research indicates that learning new skills can provide many benefits including:
Barriers to overcome include the physical impairments of your clients. For example vision, hearing and cognitive deficits or mobility issues. We need to adapt learning activities to suit individuals.
Lack of motivation and interest from residentscan also be tricky to overcome. Try to find the reason behind the attitude. They may feel embarrassed, threatened, or unwell. If you can't change their minds, invite them to observe a learning group in action. Watching their peers engage in rewarding experiences with enthusiasm may spark their interest.
Learning should never be boring. Find something they always wanted to learn about or are passionate about. Make it exciting, joyful, and comfortable. Facilitators should enjoy themselves in the process, and avoid 'going through the motions'; if it is not fun for you it is not going to be fun for them either.
Educational travel, cooking or baking, politics, religion, the sky's the limit! Consider an internet tutor if you have difficulty finding a suitable leader for your learning activity.
An enthusiastic and positive facilitator will make the classes fun and lively. Don't forget that creating stories, ceramic painting, discussion groups and trivia sessions are a great way to introduce learning to residents.
You may also expand an existing activity into an educational activity. For instance, a gardening session could include a book on succulents or bulbs for a small group of people to browse, learn about its origins, when it flowers, edible fruits, size etc. Then, choose a few bulbs to plant and go on a trip to a nursery where they can learn more things about plants.
We'd love to hear your feedback!
How do you provide learning experiences for your residents?