Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why do Senior Citizens have Learning Phobia?

Why Do Senior Citizens have Learning Phobia?


I know of many senior citizens who are wary of taking up any new learning activity – be it learning to handle the PC and Internet or special skills like appreciation of arts or music.  Sometimes it is necessary to learn new skills: say when you move to another city where the local language is different; or your son has moved to a foreign country and email is an easy way to keep connected; your grandkids expect you to help them with school homework; or you are getting to know a friend in depth and her interests are Greek and Latin to you. But you shy away from taking steps to educate yourself. Such persons suffer from 'sophophobia', as this fear of learning is called.  Why older persons are afraid of learning, when so many opportunities come up, is puzzling to me.


There could be several reasons for this psychological phenomenon. Some seniors may feel threatened by a kind of ghost competition, by which they might be feel compelled to 'perform'. In their school days they could have been slow learners and never really liked studies but were rather interested in physical skills, sports etc. Self Learning is almost an art and requires discipline. One may not be willing to put in the efforts needed for the learning activity. Time constraints, costs involved, commuting etc are other peripheral issues prompting one to put off learning. Some might genuinely feel: "What is the use?" and are not convinced.


Learning something new keeps your brain cells active. Loneliness can be avoided. Self confidence improves. Your circle of friends gets augmented. Realizing the advantages of adult education many lifelong education programs, University Third Age activities and distance education courses are coming up. For those who are net savvy, Internet or the Web is a Guru of sorts – all that one needs is some initial hand holding.


In the case of youngsters, fear of learning, exams, tests etc are understandable. Many children may feel a sense of nausea, dry mouth and sweat on hands the moment they sit for studies, especially before exams. But in old people this fear or utter dislike may stem from accumulation of intense negative experiences of the past. People who are generally high strung, tense or those suffering from adrenal insufficiency are known to 'suffer' from sophophobia.  


Unlike school children who must study, there is really no compulsion of any sort for old people. Any activity is self imposed. Heavens won't come down if a senior does not like to be learning any more. However, benefits of learning something new all the time are far to many. If you want to try, there is none to stop you except yourself!

No comments:

Post a Comment