enriching the lives of older adults
what is Creative Aging?
Images on this page courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum. Photos by Airi Katsuta.
Creative Aging is a national movement to advance understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging, and a term used to encompass the many types of quality arts programs which support and enrich the lives of adults across the aging spectrum.
Decades of research have found that older adults are healthier and happier when participating in creative aging programs. Among the findings: fewer doctor visits and less medication use for study participants engaged in professionally-conducted arts activities; improved cognitive measures; and self-reported higher morale and less social isolation.
At any stage of life, our sense of well-being is affected by our ability to live with purpose and joy, to deal effectively with life’s changes and challenges, and to sustain positive, meaningful, dynamic relationships, but this becomes particularly acute as we age. Participatory, meaningful arts engagement has a clear and direct impact on these three elements which lead to improved quality of life in older adults.
Our nation is home to a growing older adult population; in Arizona, U.S. Census Bureau data estimates that by the year 2020, more than 1 in 4 people will be over age 60.
This ‘graying’ of America has precipitated dramatic changes in the field of aging, and as a society, we’re shifting our perspective and understanding of later life. Creative Aging utilizes the unique ability of the arts to move away from a deficits approach to aging, that stresses losses, to an assets approach that stresses strengths, potential and achievements.
Text Source: Arizona Commission on the Arts, AZ Creative Aging
A National Movement
The National Center for Creative Aging is the national service organization for arts and aging, providing professional development, resources and research, training tools and more.
This study, led by Gene D. Cohen, MD, looked at the impact of professionally conducted cultural programs on the physical health, mental health, and social functioning of older adults. This was the first controlled study to assess whether participation in the creative arts, apart from traditional medical care, can promote healthier aging.
Designed for the arts and aging services fields, this resource explains why and how older adults benefit from participation in professionally conducted community arts programs and offers detailed advice and examples on program design, implementation, and evaluation.
AZ Creative Aging is an ambitious and comprehensive initiative of the Arizona Commission on the Arts that will build a creative aging infrastructure to enhance quality of life for older Arizonans. The Arizona Commission on the Arts is currently beginning AZ Creative Aging 2.0.