Can a 70-Year-Old Learn a New Language?

Picture this: You are 70 years old, you’re leaning in your armchair by the fireplace, your grandchildren have just visited you, you have done everything you wanted to do in your life, except for one thing. You hadn’t learned Spanish, German, Italian, or any other language you wanted to speak when you were younger. And right at that moment, this critical question pops up in your mind:

Can you learn a new language even when you are 70 years old?

Language Learning for Seniors

Scientific Research shows that while learning a new language is easier when you are younger, it doesn’t necessarily mean only younger people can do it. The ability to learn a new language does not stop as you age. Just like a younger person, you can do anything you want and learn anything you desire if you set your mind on it. This article will discuss the benefits of language learning for seniors.

Language learning for seniors

A Healthier Mind

The human Brain is Like a Plant. It needs attention not to fade away. In this scenario, brain exercise is what water is to a plant. And what is a better exercise for the brain than learning a foreign language?

Scientists believe people who speak more than one language are less likely to suffer from mental diseases and common mental disorders like Alzheimer‘s or dementia as they grow older. 

Bilingual people have better and more advanced cognitive abilities. When you learn a new language, you use areas of your brain that are actively connected to the areas responsible for functioning and doing tasks. An active mind will not easily allow your mental health to bring down its shields and give up to dementia or Alzheimer’s.

A Younger Mind

Just as taking care of our appearance, which you can read about in useful tips for seniors to take care of their skin to look younger, you also need to keep yourself mentally young. Take care.
To keep your brain in a healthy state, you need to challenge it daily. Sometimes, this challenge is only a small change in your daily routine, like taking a different route to the grocery store or reading a book in a genre you haven’t read before. But learning a foreign language takes everything to the next level. It keeps your mind focused on a goal and improves the function of cognitive areas of the brain.

A More Sociable Senior

Language learning for seniors

Apart from the medical benefits, learning a new language can help you improve other skills. People who know a new language can easily socialize and blend in with the crowd. It is safe to say that learning a new language helps you function better in daily life and handle the pressures and stressful situations better. It also adds flexibility to your character, making socializing a lot easier.

Don’t forget to participate in many online and offline language courses. Taking part in such events is a perfect way to make new friends. It also gives you more subjects to bring into a conversation. As a result, you wouldn’t tend to isolate yourself from the crowd, which can be very dangerous for your mental health as you age.

A More Confident Senior

Language learning for seniors

Another thing a foreign language can help you improve is your self-confidence. When you haven’t started learning yet, you wonder if it is too late for you to start. But the moment you dedicate your time to it, you will see that your skills have remained unchanged, and you shouldn’t have worried so much. You might even discover new abilities in the process. Once you start, you will get a sense of self-satisfaction incomparable to anything else in the world.

Here is an undeniable fact: Stars shine brighter when the sky gets darker. It means that in more challenging situations, your successes are seen well under the spotlight. Any 18-year-old can learn a new language and be proud of it. A young mind learning something new is indeed impressive, but not as impressive as a 70-year-old learning a whole new language in a time when the common belief holds it difficult or almost impossible. You gain respect for doing something most people your age didn’t have the courage and confidence to try. You try when everybody else gives up. After years of hard work and giving an impressive performance in your professional and personal life, you can find another reason to be proud of yourself.

The Advantages You Have Are Many

No one denies that it can be more challenging for seniors to learn a new language. But according to studies, you might even have some advantages younger people do not have.

We find ourselves in situations and conversations that introduce new words to us every day. So it’s only natural for you to know more words, expressions, and phrases when you have lived for more days. Simply, the larger your vocabulary is, the more words you learn in a second language. Other than that, some linguistics believe seniors have the advantage of referring to resources and devices they have found over the years, making them use better strategies when they decide to learn something new.

A More Sociable Senior

You Can Start Learning a New Language Right Now

Now, if you are determined to learn a new language, you are lucky. We live in an age flourishing with technological advancements. The resources used for learning a foreign language are so many that we have lost count of them. There are courses, books, applications, movies, and other resources you can use however you wish. The world is on your side. Use this perfect way of spending your retirement years and improve your skills. Learning a new language will open new doors for you and let you pass barriers that others stood behind. Set aside your doubts and welcome the remarkable changes bilingualism brings to your world.

Source Mondly Kendal at Home Lifeline 24
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Jason
Jason
1 year ago

It was an impressive topic, one of my elderly relatives started to learn English, and she is very passionate about her classes. She is the top student in her class and follows all her instructors’ tasks.

thisisjack
thisisjack
Reply to  Jason
8 months ago

Just like my nana! she surprised all of us by getting A+ from her Spanish tutor! I hope I would be just like her at the age of 70.

Ray S.
Ray S.
1 year ago

Learning a new language sounds great if you are determined to do so. Still, you have to overcome many issues you may face in your 60s or 70s … here I want to share my own experience in this regard: attending a foreign language learning class can be a bad experience when your classmates are much younger than you because the speed of learning differs for us. It made me feel embarrassed sometimes, but as I changed my situation, it was not as annoying as I thought.. it is so natural now to me! I hope you find the best way to be comfortable when learning a new language. Enjoy yourself!

Liliane
Liliane
Reply to  Ray S.
8 months ago

If possible, it is best to have a class with classmates of your range of age. If not, as you said, it can still be very joyful. Be sure that senior students are so inspiring and encouraging to other younger ones. I’m talking from experience.

J. Menendez
J. Menendez
8 months ago

It may be easier for children, but as a senior, I’ve participated in many language learning programmes and know people who have moved to a foreign country and had to learn a new language from scratch. It is possible; it will not be easy, but it is feasible.

Ethan
Ethan
Reply to  J. Menendez
8 months ago

Exactly. Based on research, pronouncing words with the proper accent is the only aspect of language learning that is learnt better if you are a child. So as long as you have the motivation to study a foreign language, nothing can stop you from learning.

Emma. Sch
Emma. Sch
8 months ago

Hello! I’m a German language tutor, and I have three students above 60! They always surprise me. They are eager, hardworking and quick learners. What I love most about the three of them is that they are not affected by ageism. They are confident enough to ask a lot of questions and work on their weaknesses. Unfortunately, we hold online classes because of the pandemic, and I can not wait to see them again.

Matthew Murphy
Matthew Murphy
Reply to  Emma. Sch
7 months ago

My mother began teaching herself German a few years ago, mainly because my sister was doing it. It does not matter how old you are. Children can learn it faster. But if you are not in a hurry, try it. As you said, the only thing seniors need is to have confidence and believe in themselves. Learning a new language is fun. 

Noah
Noah
8 months ago

Anyone can reach basic fluency in 500-1000 hours of study, depending on the complexity of the language.
I think it is no more challenging to learn a new language as an adult than as a child. I’m aware of the persistent myth that children have magic abilities, but studies and my experience have shown that this is not true, yet the myth continues. It’s a very popular excuse, isn’t it?
Due to other interests and responsibilities, older adults may find it more challenging to focus on learning a language, but that has nothing to do with their age.

Eve
Eve
8 months ago

It’s never too late to learn new skills and achieve new successes. Honestly, I think seniors are better than younger people in learning new skills, not because of the different brain performance, just because of the hard work and passion. Believe it or not, I’ve met so many seniors in college, language classes, and even at the gym who were much more passionate and hardworking than me (a 25-year-old person). Learning new skills needs nothing more than continuous and stable practice, which, based on my observation, is mostly seen in seniors.

Liam
Liam
6 months ago

Speaking from experience, I can assure you that it is not hard to learn a new language, no matter your age… 
At the age of 68, I have begun learning french. I am making slow but constant progress. I will agree it’s often true that kids are able to acquire language skills faster than adults. 
But they will forget what they have learned just as fast unless they continue to get regular practice. 
Older adults may take longer, but they will retain more language over a long period of time. That’s my judgment based on my own experiences of learning.