Posted By Julie Morris on 12/30/2018

5 Fun Skills That Seniors Can Learn Online

Learning shouldn’t stop just because your career is wrapped up. Retirement is the perfect time for seniors to pick up a new skill or two to keep them active and engaged throughout the later years. Beyond the personal rewards of learning something new, hobbies are a great way to meet new people and escape the isolation that so often plagues old age. According to Harvard Health Publishing, learning new skills can even keep seniors’ brains healthier for longer.


When it comes to picking up a new talent, aging adults needn’t be restricted to solo activities or programming at the local senior center. There are countless opportunities to learn new skills online without spending a lot of money. What’s important, however, is to set goals you can achieve. Starting a new hobby or learning a new skill isn’t easy, but if you stick with it through the frustration and trial and error, you can boost your confidence and increase your self-esteem.

1. A Musical Instrument

According to reporting by National Geographic, musical training can increase the amount of gray and white matter in the brain. Even when adults don’t learn until late in life, they experience measurable benefits to memory, information processing, speech, and other cognitive functions. With so much to gain, lessons easily found online, and opportunities to jam with new friends, there’s hardly a reason not to pick up an instrument in retirement. With so many instruments to choose from, it can be hard to settle on one. Consider something a bit jazzy like a trumpet, or compact like a flute. Or opt for the classical route and try your hand at the cello. Truly, there are myriad choices when it comes to the world of music. 

2. A New Language

If you think learning a new language is only for the young, think again. It’s perfectly possible for older adults to gain conversational proficiency in a foreign language with enough time and practice. Apps like Duolingo and Babbel make it easy to fit language learning into even the busiest of schedules, while foreign language conversation groups offer an opportunity to practice and mingle with fellow learners and native speakers. Seniors can pick a language that fascinates them or target their learning toward future travel destinations. 

3. Painting

You don’t need to be an artistic genius to enjoy painting. Art is a wonderful way to promote positive emotions and combat feelings of depression and anxiety that sometimes crop up in old age. You can find step-by-step guides online to guide you through the painting process, from choosing the right materials to putting the finishing touches on a design. While your first pieces may not amount to much, soon you’ll be creating artwork you’re proud to share and impressing your friends on sip-and-paint nights.

4. Home Maintenance

Learning how to do your own home repairs might not sound like the most fun skill at first, but it can be incredibly rewarding for seniors who enjoy hands-on projects. Plus, learning how to handle minor repairs on your own is a great way to stretch retirement funds. Thanks to YouTube and other online fix-it guides, you can learn how to repair a leaky faucet or paint a room from the comfort of your own home.

5. Photography

Thanks to smartphones, nearly everyone has a camera in their pocket these days. However, not everyone understands how to shoot a great photo. Whether you want to take your vacation pictures to the next level or make some money on the side shooting family portraits, improving your photography skills is key. Start by learning how to compose interesting photographs, then move on to developing editing skills to give your shots a professional look. 


These five suggestions are a great place to start, but they’re hardly the only skills a senior can pick up in retirement. Nowadays, it’s possible to learn just about anything thanks to online courses. And since so many of these resources come at no cost, seniors are free to experiment with as many subjects as they please until they find a skill that sticks.


Image via Unsplash





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Julie Morris

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