Proving that it’s never too late to pick up a new skill, Stockland’s Long Island Retirement Village in Seaford Melbourne is running language classes for its residents.

The two-hour, once weekly classes are run in partnership with Mornington Peninsula Language and Culture Studies and have been designed “to challenge residents’ cognitive ability and inspire a love of learning “ according to Robyn Bechaz, the village’s Health and Wellbeing Coordinator.

Approximately 20 residents are participating in the classes which to date have taught Italian and Spanish, with French being introduced this year.

Long Island Retirement Village resident James Reid can speak eight different languages. The 69-year-old uses English day-to-day, is fluent in Dutch and German, and can also speak some French and Malay and has been participating in the village’s language classes to learn Italian and Spanish. He and his wife Beth enjoy travelling and have found that they enjoy their travel much more when they can communicate with people in their own language. “If you don’t use it, you lose it” said James.

Neville Lightfoot, who is 73-years-old, is considering whether to settle for three languages or do the classes again this year and learn some French. He says learning a new language is a big undertaking however the group environment of the classes definitely makes it easier, adding “no matter how much or little you learn, any knowledge is always useful”.

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