Throughout our lifetimes we try to do more, be more, live more.
One way we can do that is to be lifelong learners.
Caregivers are constantly learning new things, especially skills to care for senior loved ones.
Being a lifelong learner has many benefits, both mental and physical.
When we pursue new ideas or skills, either formally or informally, we are being learners.
Learning every day, throughout our lives, makes us lifelong learners and information seekers.
We learn voluntarily when we have a love of learning, no one has to force us to do it.
We can be self-motivated to gain knowledge—because we are interested.
It doesn’t have to be for your profession or job, it could be for fun or to be a better caregiver.
Learning doesn’t only happen when we are in a classroom behind a desk but anywhere we are.
When we interact with others and the world in our daily life, we can be lifelong learners.
The goal of lifelong learners is to improve their knowledge and skills for personal and professional situations.
It has been said that “knowledge results from the combination of grasping experience and transforming it.”
Benefits of Lifelong Learning
Caregivers will find that being open to growth in knowledge will help them in their personal and caregiving lives.
These are just some of the ways that you can benefit with lifelong learning:
- Social inclusion – make new friends
- Personal development
- Brain engagement
- Pride in expertise and self-esteem builder
- Sense of accomplishment
- Higher paying jobs
- Improved quality of life, sense of fulfillment
- More fun in your days
- Being satisfied with what life brings and even enjoying it
- Delay or prevent dementia
- Reduce boredom
- Improved emotional health
Lifelong learning leads to self-enrichment for caregivers and seniors. This can increase interactions between caregivers, senior loved ones, and the community.
Technology Spurs Learning
Technology can help or hinder learning, depending on its availability or caregivers’ adoption of it.
Learning how to learn using technology may be the next thing on caregivers list of to-dos.
According to Colin Rose (author of Master It Faster), being a good learner will require caregivers to be a MASTER – Motivated, Acquire skills, Search for meaning, Trigger recollection, Examine, and Reflect.
We can learn via reading a new book, taking a class, learning a language, gaining a new skill, completing a DIY project, traveling, eating a new food or conversing with someone about something you never knew.
Technology especially using the internet can help us all learn more in different ways than we did before.
According to a new Pew Research Center survey:
- 73% of adults call themselves lifelong learners
- 74% of adults have participated in activities tied to learning for personal reasons
- 63% of adults have gotten additional training/learning for the professional roles
- 52% of personal learners and 55% of professional learners report using the internet for learning
- 82% of people with a smartphone and a broadband connection in the home have received personal learning using technology; if only one of the two are available, 64% learn via technology
- 77% of people who consider themselves lifelong learners or are open to it actually are!
- 72% of caregivers gather health information online
Caregivers who have internet-connecting technologies are more likely to use information technology to navigate the world.
Many Online Learning Options
Caregivers can go online and learn about the diseases and treatments affecting their seniors, take classes online to learn more about their caregiving role and the skills needed to provide that care, take classes to learn hands-on caregiving skills, learn how to cope with behaviors, learn how to budget for healthcare, interact with other caregivers through social media, and investigate resources for caregiving in their communities. This is naturally just a short list of opportunities that are afforded to caregivers through technology and learning.
Distance learning and massive open online courses (MOOC) offered via universities and companies are ways caregivers can learn new information both personally and professionally.
In addition to learning new information and skills, caregivers and their senior loved ones can learn ways to reduce isolation through teleconferencing or video chatting, reduce hospitalization with better disease management and crisis care, and even travel the world virtually.
More Benefits of Technology
More caregivers and seniors would benefit by using technology to increase their access to learning opportunities.
What else can caregivers do with technology to learn how to help their senior loved ones? Use GPS technology to locate a lost senior, use a personal emergency response system if an emergency strikes, remind them to take their medication, keep them safe from falls using sensors, track health statistics, and learn from other caregivers through social media and support networks.
We all need to remember that learning is actually unavoidable.
Keeping a positive attitude and a zest for new knowledge will help caregivers be adaptable when change happens.
Let’s face it – caregiving for seniors is all about change and being able to cope with it gracefully.