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Choose Any Topic: 8 Reasons to Take a Class


Earlier I wrote a three-part series, Body & Mind, sharing 10 ways seniors can stay active and alert. One of the choices I shared was to take a class on a subject of interest. Any subject. Is there a new topic you want to explore? Computers? Oil painting? Photography of the Himalayas? Do you want to expand your knowledge on a favorite subject? The choices are limited only by your curiosity.

There are, of course, numerous reasons for staying mentally engaged. The most important, arguably, is to stem the ravages of dementia. In a 2013 article for TIME, Maia Szalavitz stated, “The key to staying sharp in old age is to exercise your brain throughout life.” She cites data from a study published in Neurology, where over a six-year period roughly 300 seniors were examined for cognitive changes. Over the course of the study, about half of the participants “developed dementia or mild cognitive impairment. The scientists found that 14% of the variability in mental decline could be attributed to the amount of intellectual activity in which people participated, both early and late in life. And that effect was seen even after the researchers accounted for other factors that influence dementia like age and education. “

Intellectual activity is powerful and not just for battling dementia. Today I will be sharing 8 reasons for taking a class that interests you.

  • Fight Dementia/Increase Memory– (you saw this one coming) Taking a class strengthens your brain’s ability to process and retain information. Stimulating your gray matter is essential.
  • Increase Creativity– Being stimulated and challenged intellectually is a good thing.
  • Staying up-to-date– Taking a class on using the internet, for example, will help you keep up with and understand your grandchildren. Don’t forget, many of us remember when the radio was the family’s sole source of electronic entertainment.
  • Learning – Knowledge is power and expanding it into new areas or old favorites is never a bad idea.
  • Community – An opportunity to forge new friendships with individuals who have similar interests.
  • Structure/Reduce boredom – Waking up and having something to do is preferable to having nothing to look forward to. It also helps fight boredom and depression.
  • Provides purpose/goal – Having a goal helps not only with fighting dementia but aids in battling depression.
  • Fun – Increasing your knowledge in any subject, new or old, should make you smile.


Engaging in intellectual activity can be challenging and is key to fighting dementia in seniors. Taking a class provides an avenue for not only battling dementia but also an opportunity for enriching your life. You could probably find other reasons for taking a class or encouraging the senior in your life to take one, but these should, I hope, inspire you to explore subjects you want to know more about. For a variety of reasons. Enjoy your new experiences.