Judah Ronch, Erickson School, in the New York Times

Judah RonchThe New York Times today examined the experiences of older students — in their 60s and beyond — at colleges and universities. The article cites many reasons for retirees taking college courses, including tuition waivers, social connections and an interest in lifelong learning.

“Novelty is something the brain thrives on,” said Erickson School Dean Judah L. Ronch, commenting on the physiological and psychological health benefits that older students experience. “It helps connections between nerve cells form, and that’s the basis of new knowledge and ability. Research now supports the idea that at any age these connections can continue to be made.”

In addition to supporting brain health, the classroom can also be a helpful for adults coping with the death of a spouse and struggling to socialize with friends who are intact couples. Ronch noted that in college fellow students are unlikely to ask, “Is your husband dead or alive?” Read the full article to learn more.