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Seeing the World Anew

Zurich’s Senior Citizens University UZH3 exercises the brain cells of adults over sixty. Combined with sport and social activities, lifelong learning is a health asset in people’s later years. Research carried out by UZH psychologist Burcu Demiray also backs this up.

Participants in the Senior Citizens University Zurich UZH3 want to experience new things. They’re open and inquisitive, and they have drive. Every Tuesday and Thursday during the semester, they flock to the Irchel Campus at 2 pm for lectures. Some – including Heinz Lienhart – arrive early to take in the lively coming and going. “I feel really comfortable here. The young people are very considerate and friendly,” he says. A trained electrical mechanic and computer scientist, Lienhart has been an active member of the Senior Citizens University of Zurich for five years. “I was made redundant four years before retirement. I missed the daily structure,” he explains. When he heard about UZH3 – the university of the third age – he immediately registered. “I watched my daughters complete their studies, now I can experience it for myself,” he smiles.

Alongside Lienhart, some 2,000 people over sixty attend UZH3. The program ranges from lectures and sports activities at the Academic Sports Association Zurich to supplementary events, online tuition and project groups. The effects of lifelong learning are the focus of research being conducted by gerontopsychologist Burcu Demiray, one of the researchers linked to the University Research Priority Program Dynamics of Healthy Aging. “The more a person learns and actively uses their brain, the less likely they are to lose cognitive functions,” she says.

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