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Lifelong Learning May Lower Risks for Cognitive Decline

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Lifelong learning is good for your brain. Woman researching in a libraryLifestyle choices can reduce risks for cognitive decline as people age. Exercising regularly, eating heart-healthy foods and being social are all good for brain health So too is  lifelong learning. 

During Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, NewBridge Services urges adults to explore learning opportunities in your community and online. Opportunities abound to pursue college degrees and speciality certifications, or to study an interesting subject for the simple pleasure of learning.

Massive Open Online Courses

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are academic classes created by university professors available for free over the internet. The website MOOC List has links to thousands of them.

Online learning platforms such as Coursera, edX and Udemy offer free courses. Most give participants the option of paying a fee to receive certification for taking the course. Classes are typically taught by professors or experts in their field. Numerous universities offer accredited online undergraduate and master’s degrees.

Lifelong Learning Centers*

The Bernard Osher Foundation supports 124 lifelong learning programs on university and college campuses across the nation. People age 50 and up pay for membership, giving them access to an array of non-credit courses and activities. Public school districts often offer continuing education courses, ranging from cooking and exercise classes to computer programming and group trips.

Auditing Classes*

Retirees can take advantage of university programs that allow older adults to audit classes free of charge. Paying students get first priority, but if space remains, colleges will often open them to seniors. For example, New Jersey residents age 62 and older can audit in-person spring and fall semester classes at Rutgers University through its Senior Citizen Audit Program. 


If you want to pursue an activity or area of study with others, provides a platform to find like-minded people in an existing group or by creating  your own. 

*These are normally in-person gatherings, but the COVID-19 pandemic likely has affected that.

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