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Senior citizens graduating from college, too

May 24, 2012

As many young adults walk across the stage at their college graduations this month, some of them will be joined by fellow grads that more closely resemble their grandparents than their peers. Many older adults have made lifelong learning part of a healthy lifestyle for seniors, and this is the season when they collect their diplomas, New Jersey's Courier-Post reports.

There are a number of reasons why seniors choose to return to the classroom. Some are looking to supplement the degrees they already have and others simply enjoy learning. Then there are those like Janice Bulak, 70, who recently graduated from Camden County College to accomplish a life goal.

"I worked most of my life and spent 25 years raising my children. But I never had a degree. When I lost my job a couple years ago as a senior designer for a lighting manufacturer, I figured I'd go back to school," she told the newspaper. "Now I can knock this off my bucket list."

Even if it's not through returning to the classroom, a zest for lifelong learning is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle for seniors. Continuing education can yield a number of health benefits, scientists say. Specifically, a 2007 study from UC Irvine found that continuing to learn may prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease.