Older Adults: Daunted by a New Task? Learn 3 Instead

Posted on July 19, 2019

A new study conducted by UC Riverside has found that cognitive abilities in adults are improved when they learn a few things together instead of learning them one by one. In order to prevent one’s cognitive functions to worsen, older adults are encouraged to be continuously motivated to learn new skills.

Adults who are 58 to 86 years old took part in the research and were required to take 3 to 5 classes over the next 3 months for about 15 hours per week. The classes they took included language classes, classes which teaches them how to use advanced electronic gadgets and photography classes.

The participants also underwent cognitive assessments at different stages of the study to track their progress. The assessments measured their working memory capacity, extent of cognitive control as well as how adept their episodic memory is.

At the end of the study, the cognitive abilities of the subjects improved to match those of middle-aged adults who are about 30 years younger. This indicates that older adults are able to maintain cognitive abilities by keeping their minds active through learning new skills.

Compared to learning new things one at a time, simultaneously training different skills can maintain or improve the cognitive abilities of the elderly. This could be a key in helping older adults maintain their autonomy as they age while they consistently upgrade themselves with various skills and knowledge.

Category(s):Aging & Geriatric Issues

Source material from Science Daily