Learning a New Skill in Retirement

30 September, 2016

Elderly playing instrumentThe old adage claims that old dogs can’t learn new tricks. However, we know that more and more people are in fact looking to take up a new hobby or skill once they hit retirement.

This is perhaps unsurprising, as retirees find themselves with more time on their hands and (in many cases) a clear idea of where their interests lie. But what always amazes us is the sheer breadth of activities that we hear about people taking up!

Learn a new language

Learning a new language is always popular – and this is fantastic, as it not only keeps the brain active, but language lessons can be very sociable events and a great opportunity for people to make new friends.

And, of course, the best way to practice a new language is to travel – so what’s not to love?

Last year The Guardian discussed this trend in an article. An 85 year old gentleman, Ronald Williams, agreed on the importance of learning a new language, saying: “I was excited at the prospect of learning a language; I regret not doing it in my younger days. Learning a language and meeting people is exciting. It’s nice to go out and I look forward to [it].”

Learn to play a musical instrument

Another thing we hear a lot of is people trying their hand at a musical instrument. Research led by Prof. Sue Hallam, from the UCL Institute of Education, has actually shown that older people who take up music had a more positive outlook, felt more in control of their lives and said the activity helped keep their minds sharp.

Sometimes people started learning when they were young but didn’t persevere; sometimes they’ve never done anything remotely musical before. However, what everyone seems to admit is that this is a tricky thing to learn – it takes time, effort and no small amount of patience – but it’s also great fun and really rewarding.

Friends of Stannah Stairlifts

We’ve also heard of some pretty unexpected skills that people have learnt in older age. One friend of Stannah, for example, has been taught stone masonry. Another has taken up archery and one has decided to learn to fly helicopter – so the sky is quite literally the limit in this case!

What’s clear to see is that many people take up new activities in order to boost their social lives. Activities like joining a bridge club or getting involved in charity work are great ways to meet new people and their popularity shows how keen people are to not only learn new skills but also to maintain active social lives.

It doesn’t matter what motivates people to try something new. What’s important is that people recognise that growing older doesn’t mean that the opportunity for experimenting has passed. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Once you’re older you have more time to apply yourself to any number of activities, having a go at whatever you fancy until you find something that really grabs your attention.

Here at Stannah Stairlifts, we are constantly inspired by the experiences our customers have and hope to hear more of them. Please keep sending them in!

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