Even as one ages into the golden years, the desire and the need to learn continue. Older adults must still keep up on technology changes such as the use of computers and cellphones. Without this knowledge, the elderly become more vulnerable to physical, emotional and financial abuse.
An article on the American Society on Aging website identifies research that shows that lifelong learning aids the elderly in the areas of cognition, self-confidence, engagement and health and well-being.
It is also important for the elderly and family members to know that an elderly student may value different types of learning and subject matter. Health courses that deal with nutrition and brain fitness are popular. On the financial front, the elderly show a heightened interest in classes that deal with coping with age-appropriate changes such as retirement. Though limited research exists on the elderly and educational preferences, it is clear that the elderly value socialization in classes as well as interaction with instructors. One interesting finding is that the elderly sometimes prefer classrooms with people the same age, likely due to decreased ability in such areas as short-term memory and familiarity with technology.
Financial exploitation of seniors is a serious problem and education, at least in part, may help prevent some cases of this abuse. The Better Health While Aging website states that learning about scams targeting the elderly may be an effective approach. These may come over the phone, through email, or even from an acquaintance, friend or family member of a senior. Seniors and family members should be aware to never give out financial information over the phone or allow someone else to take over their financial decisions without first seeking advice.