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Planning Retirement Online

Need a mental health boost?

Learn another language

If you have ever heard anyone say “oh, I am too old to learn another language” there is now scientific proof to show this is not the case.

Even better, new research shows that learning a new language in laterlife can actually boost brain power and even stave off the onset of dementia.

And you don’t even have to spend hours studying year after year to get the benefits…investigations undertaken at the University of Edinburgh show that after just a one week intensive course in a new language, your brain power can experience a dramatic boost.

Professor Antonella Sorace is the founder of the Bilingualism Matters Centre at the University and has completed research which shows that being multilingual can improve thinking and learning ability and also reduce mental decline with age.

But now her latest research has specifically involved people in their 60s and 70s who are complete beginners and involving them an intensive five day course in Gaelic on Scotland’s Isle of Skye.

The group first undertook a series of tests to show mental agility and sharpness. Then they all studied Gaelic for five hours each day of the course. At the end of the course, the group did better on tests of attention and mental sharpness.

Interestingly, this group’s mental abilities were also tested against a similar group who were studying other subjects rather than language. The results showed that the group studying Gaelic showed a more significant improvement in their cognitive function.

Professor Sorace said she believes the brain improvement comes from the effort and novelty of the tasks.

“It is not about proficiency as such, because after a week these people are not fluent in Gaelic,” she said. “

So these outcomes show just starting to learn a new language can bring benefits and there seems evidence that studying minority “novel” languages such as Gaelic, Sardinian or Cornish which are completely new to you can add even more benefit.

Continuing to study language can also be a great boost to your mental agility…research has shown that being bilingual, or at least having a reasonable understanding of a second language, can stave off the onset of dementia by up to five years. This is thought to be because the effort of compartmentalizing different languages and switching between them keeps the mind healthy for longer.

There are lots of online language courses now available at all levels; including courses in minority languages:

For Gaelic:
learngaelic.net/lg-beginner

For Cornish:
learncornishnow.com/cornish-for-beginners

For Welsh:
learn-welsh.net

At our age, there are also lots of specialist opportunities to combine our love of travel with learning a new language.  IPSA, an American based organisation, offers one of the most extensive programmes for over 50s to study a huge range of different languages in different countries, from German in the Austrian Tyrol and Italian in Rome to Chinese in Shanghai and Russian in Moscow

studyabroadinternational.com/study_abroad_programs_for_Seniors

Start discovering new languages now by emailing us what the following says:

HINT: it is in a minority European language!

Ez da berandu hizkuntza berri bat ikasteko


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