The importance of lifelong learning

Many people have the desire to learn throughout their lives. This may be to satisfy their thirst for knowledge, to achieve personal fulfillment, to build new bonds, to stay active, to find meaning in their lives, to adapt to change, or to develop new skills. But did you know that participating in lifelong-learning activities can also improve your health and well-being later in life. Lifelong learning has been shown to improve psychosocial outcomes, self‐esteem and self‐efficacy, as well as given a sense of purpose and hope and enhance competencies and social integration. Many older adults go back to school, while others turn to online learning.

If you are intrigued by the idea of learning something new, but unsure of where to start, you may want to consider your local public library. Over the years, public libraries have developed a diversity of programs and services to meet the evolving needs of older adults, including workshops and lectures.

As part of the new federal budget, the Canadian government will contribute to lifelong learning for individuals who meet specific criteria. If you are between the ages of 25 to 64 years old, and earn at least $10,000 per year, but less than $150,000 per year, the Canadian government will provide you with a $250 annual credit, through the Canadian Revenue Agency, to support continued learning and reskilling.

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DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.