One of the many advantages of learning a second language is to support better cognitive function. Here are some things to think about if an elderly loved one is thinking of learning new languages after reaching the age of 50 or beyond.
Learning new Languages After 50s
Many older people often assume that even if learning a new language may be advantageous, they are too old to gain from it. Thankfully, this is not the case! A study conducted at a university has shown that these advantages persisted even in cases when the individual did not begin learning the language until they were much older. Therefore, regardless of age, you should encourage an older loved one who is thinking about learning a new language to do so, as well as other senior activities like playing an instrument, which have also been demonstrated to increase cognitive reserve.
Warding Off Effects of Cognitive Decline
Learning a new language has both cognitive and psychological advantages. Researchers have demonstrated that learning multiple languages aids the brain’s ability to fend off some of the more typical impairments that come with dementia and other age-related cognitive issues. According to some studies, acquiring a second language helps the brain develop problem-solving skills that are essential for fending off dementia. In addition, those who have learned another language may still experience some of the physical changes that can occur in the brain as we age, but because the brain has practiced seeing things from new perspectives, it is able to overcome or at least lower any decline in function that would otherwise result from the changes.
Providing Socialization Opportunities
Learning a new language provides other advantages besides warding off the effects of cognitive decline. Your elderly loved one will typically benefit from taking language classes because they will enable them to leave the house and socialize. Occasionally, the socialization that comes with taking a language course will be sufficient compensation.
Second, your older loved one will discover that he or she is capable of doing challenging tasks by learning a new language. In turn, this will boost their confidence and self-esteem. The likelihood that he or she will be willing to venture out and attempt new things will improve as a result of the increased confidence.
Learning a new language will also be advantageous if your older loved one decides to travel during their retirement. While some senior people might not be able to do this, an increasing number of elderlies over 65 have the physical, mental, and financial means to travel. Your older loved one might find those journeys a little bit more delightful if they pick up a new language so as to efficiently communicate with the locals.
Learning a new language not just supports your loved one’s cognitive health, but it also boosts their self-esteem while also providing an avenue for socialization. It is never too late to learn something new even for something as simple as picking up a new language. Being able to communicate with others through their native language will also be such a fun and satisfying experience.