Vive La France
You’re never too old to learn new skills and the residents at Point Cook Village retirement community have discovered that seniors are just as receptive to learning new things with the creation of their very own u3a styled French club. The brainchild of Bernadette Mrazlijak, a fluent French speaker with a love of France, she thought it would be a fun idea to start a French club at the village retirement community.
So far they have 10 members taking part in the weekly sessions where the residents take part in language exercises. There’s a mixed level but everyone has fun. And not only do the residents get to polish up their language skills, but they arrange fun French themed events. On 14 July, Bastille Day, the residents organised a celebration in honour of the French National holiday with a French themed lunch. They also have movie nights where the residents watch French language films.
Benefits to learning new skills in retirement
As well as having fun, there are additional benefits for seniors learning a new skill. Gaining a new skill, whether it’s learning a new language as in the case of the residents of Point Cook Village, or simply learning how to dance, taking up a new sport, learning computer skills or woodwork can help to keep your mind sharp and improve your memory.
The sense of accomplishment in learning a new skill can help increase self confidence. And it is a great opportunity to meet new people with common interests and is something to share with family and friends.
Retirement is a great time to learn new skills or to build on existing skills. Keeping your mind and body engaged is great fun and can be a rewarding experience.
And the members of the Point Cook Village French Club can be reassured by research that shows that people who speak two languages perform better on a variety of cognitive tasks.
There are many ways to keep your brain fit in retirement. Learning new challenges is an excellent way to give your brain a good workout as it works multiple areas of the brain. The key to keeping your brain working fast and efficiently is variety and keeping interested in the world around you. Brain fitness programs and games are a great way to keep your brain fit as well as puzzles such as Suduko and crosswords which can help improve memory and brain speed.
It’s never too late to start learning. Learning a new skill challenges many parts of the brain, helping to keep it fit and young. The u3a has an extensive course programme for seniors (50+) designed to keep the brain fit and challenged.