The staff at Mt. Rose believes that there are many paths to health and wellness. Many are outside the realm of traditional medicine and/or pharmaceuticals.  Being a Lifelong Learner is one of those paths.  Mt. Rose, through our HeARTworks Outreach program, is pleased to offer options for Lifelong Learning!

One of the personal traits that I feel enriches my life most, is in self-identifying as a lifelong learner.  I love to learn new things, figure out different ways to approach old problems, be exposed to information that makes me a better human being.  I know that being a lifelong learner keeps me motivated and indeed even contributes to my good health, both mentally and physically.  Now there is good science to back that up!  As part of the newly formed HeARTworks Outreach Department at Mt. Rose, we are endeavoring to provide meaningful opportunities for lifelong learning.

Mt. Rose collaborated with Huajatolla Heritage Foundation and brought a unique learning event to the area this past weekend.  Dr. David Westmoreland and Dr. Arri Eisen discussed having been involved for over 15 years in an unprecedented intellectual endeavor.  They were both teaching at Emory University when the Dalai Lama invited the University to integrate modern science into the education of the thousands of Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns in exile in India. This project, the Emory Tibet Science Initiative, became the first major change in the monastic curriculum in six centuries.  Although they were charged with setting up the science curriculum for the monastery, they were profoundly affected with all that they learned.  Not only about the culture, but also, they were exposed to new concepts on being effective educators which they now have incorporated into their teaching styles at the Air Force Academy. Although they went to India as the teachers, they found that they were most effective when they became the students. And that was the richness of their experiences that they shared.

About 50 people attended this event from Huerfano and Las Animas Counties.  There was rapt interest and lively discussion.  What was particularly interesting to me is that over 90% of those in attendance identified as “Baby Boomers”; they were there to learn more.  It brought me to doing more research on the advantages of Lifelong Learning.

There’s always something to learn; everyday can provide the opportunities to acquire fresh knowledge and skills. And you should be eager to embrace the challenge, because lifelong learning has a lot of benefits. Here are a few.

It Can Help Your Brain Stay Healthy
Continuing to learn does good things for our brains. Recent research has found that learning keeps brain cells working at optimum levels, which can limit cognitive and memory decline as we age. The best part is the learning can come in any form. If we’re acquiring new knowledge, we’re keeping our brain healthier.

It Can Help You Stay Connected
From participating in continued education at colleges and universities to attending art classes at the rec center to studying and debating important issues in online groups, many forms of adult education allow you to meet new people and connect with the ideas of today. If you want to keep making friends and avoid becoming out of touch with the modern world, one of the best choices you can make is to continue learning.

It Can Help You Stay Fulfilled
Many people participate in lifelong learning because they enjoy it. And that’s no surprise, given that research has shown that lifelong learning can lead to an enriching life of self-fulfillment. When we take the time to learn new things, we open our minds and gain wisdom that can help us make the world a better place through social change and other life-affirming endeavors.

It Can Help You Be Happier
Lifelong learning doesn’t just increase the likelihood we’ll feel fulfilled, it can improve our emotional balance and help us avoid depression. For older adults, this is particularly beneficial, as depression often comes with aging. While there is no cure for getting older, lifelong learning can help us stay happier as we progress through the stages of life.

It’s Easier Than Ever to Engage in Lifelong Learning
The rise of online education has made lifelong learning a real possibility for everyone, no matter where or how you live. That’s because online learning lets you learn from home. Plus, you can take online classes at whatever time of day works best for you, keeping you in control of your schedule.  (Zoom has made it possible for me to do course work in Gerontology through University of Colorado that I would have never been able to access prior to this online platform.)


Mt. Rose will be offering many opportunities for Lifelong Learning in the coming months.  Learning can occur in so many ways outside the usual classroom setting.  Our next program will feature the lovely, gifted Teresa de Jesus Vigil from San Luis returning for a presentation in Walsenburg at the Library on September 16th at 1PM. She will be sharing her well respected knowledge as an herbalist, truly believing in the power of plants to heal. She states: “How fortunate we are to live in an area with nature’s pharmacy all around us, waiting to heal us. Before modern medicine arrived in San Luis, not long ago, we had to rely on herbal medicine for curbing disease and treating emergency health crises. Now the rest of the country is learning about the value of herbal healing. Isn’t it great that we have retained the knowledge passed on by our ancestors?”.

Teresa proudly admits to being 89 years old.  She had the energy and vitality of someone half her age.  So much we have to learn from this elder.

Teresa demonstrates the philosophy of Mt. Rose Health Center Palliative Care and Hospice’s Conscious Aging Program that the Wisdomkeepers need to step forward to become the WisdomSharers.  It is one more way we can promote health beyond the traditional concepts. And perhaps even more important, we are asking elders to step up and share their knowledge.  We cannot let this valuable resource be lost.

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