Photo exhibit shines light on active seniors

Today's seniors have helped redefine aging, and a photography exhibit in Lawrence, Kansas, is paying tribute to their active lifestyle. Dubbed "Seniors - The Good Life," the project focuses on the lifestyle of 16 area residents, all of whom are shining examples of a healthy lifestyle for seniors, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.

Among those featured in the exhibit is 74-year-old JoAnn Qandil, who arguably gets more variety in her life than adults half her age. In addition to taking cycling and Zumba classes at the local athletic club, she also owns and leases rental properties.

"I do anything I can get my hands on, I try it once, at least," she told the newspaper. "That keeps you hopping."

The exhibit comes from area resident Constance Whiston, who at 63 is approaching retirement herself. She hopes her project will encourage other seniors to be as engaged and active as the older adults in her photos.

There are many ways seniors can stay active throughout retirement, and one of the most popular choices as of late has been continuing education. Aside from helping older adults remain engaged in a social sense, researchers have found heading back to the classroom can also provide them with a number of new skills.

The findings come out of a 2010 study conducted by scientists from the University of California, San Diego, who studied the brains of more than 3,000 subjects between 60 and 100. The scans showed that older brains do not exhibit a reduced capacity to learn new things. Additionally, while their reaction time may be slower, researchers say that may actually be a good thing.

"The elderly brain is less dopamine-dependent, making people less impulsive and controlled by emotion," said author Dilip Jeste.