How Bilingualism May Help Your Aging Brain
By Lexi Herrin
There are a lot of different ideas and opinions going around that talk about if it is important to learn other languages or if it is even possible to do so at an older age. There are lots of benefits to learning other languages no matter your age along with simply learning just for fun. Some of those include improving your memory, slowing the inevitable decline of your brain, and even fighting against Alzheimer's disease.
Learning a language may help improve your memory. Because bilingualism can help with slow the decline and deterioration of your brain, it can also help improve your memory. Bilingualism can help your brain find alternate pathways to communicate information which keeps the brain function from declining even as your brain ages; because of this, it helps to keep your memory from declining and it may even help to improve your memory.
Your Brain May Not Decline as Quickly
Generally, by the time we hit our mid 20s, our brains already start the inevitable decline in terms of memory, efficiency, processing speed, and things like that. The older we get, the more and more our brains decline and at a quicker pace. Learning another language may help with that. There are some studies that have shown how this works. A bilingual brain can compensate by using alternative brain networks and connections after the original pathways have been destroyed through deterioration. Therefore, a bilingual brain may appear to age at the same speed as a monolingual one but, it will find other ways to still work efficiently.
Fighting Against Alzheimer's
There are several different studies going around in which people 65 and older are learning languages to try to decrease their chances of developing Alzheimer's. Language learning is one of the most complex behaviors that people can engage in. You have to learn speech sounds, syllables, words, grammar, sentences and syntax. Because there is so much going on, it can be a real "workout" for your brain. Working out your brain can help slow the aging process, which can help prevent the risk of Alzheimer's and slows down the aging process.
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