Too late to learn a new language? Think again! Most sources will tell you that adopting a foreign vocabulary can only be done during early childhood but this is not the case at all. Not only is it possible, but it can ward off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Sometimes I think we’re resistant to learning something new as we get older because of the idea of being set in our ways, and somehow our brain has reached capacity.
Many people take advantage of their retirement to finally get out there and travel, and what better way to immerse oneself in another culture than to learn the language! Most countries have English as their second language but are greatly appreciative when we can make the effort to learn their own. It isn’t just a way to communicate, but more so a way to experience a different way of life.
An article published by the Guardian in 2014 talks about the brain’s neuroplasticity which refers to its ability to respond and adapt to changes in environment and situations. Switching our brain over to learning new languages forces it to expand and accommodate new information. This exposure to new “pathways” is what can help delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s much like deciding to change your usual driving route. How many times have you driven home as though on auto-pilot without thinking much about it?
Most Americans are afraid to travel to a foreign land due to the language barrier. Try getting out of your comfort zone, and sign up for a class before heading abroad. This can be a fun way to meet others who share common interests who may be able to offer travel insight.
What are you waiting for? Start packing those guidebooks and get excited about that European tour!