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Art and Aging: How Art Can Benefit Older Adults

Older adults need to exercise their brain and their body.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association have found with older adults that exercising the brain is as important to keep the brain alert and strong as physical exercise is to keep the body strong and able.The benefits of movement, building, inventing or creating things is fulfilling, and it gives people a sense of worth and contribution while helping them to maintain a positive outlook on life.

In the book Successful Aging, John W. Rowe, MD, and Robert L. Kahn, PhD, discuss three aspects of successful aging: low risk of disease; high mental and physical functioning; and being actively engaged in life. Expressive art activities can help promote active engagement in life. And art keeps older adults engaged in life in positive, healthy and fulfilling ways.

Art has a positive effect on health and illness as we age. It can serve as therapy by offering an outlet for an older adult to express themselves, and it assists individuals in tapping into and expressing their imagination and creativity. The benefits of many art forms, including dance, writing, pottery, painting, poetry, knitting, woodworking and crafting, have the following positive results in older adults:

  • helping individuals relax
  • providing a sense of control
  • reducing depression and anxiety
  • assisting in socialization
  • encouraging playfulness and a sense of humor
  • improving cognition
  • offering sensory stimulation
  • fostering a stronger sense of identity
  • increasing self-esteem
  • nurturing spirituality
  • reducing boredom

As we age, cognitive and physical exercise are imperative not only to our health, but to our overall life expectancy.

If older adults are experiencing frustrations with the age-related decline in his or her physical abilities, creative arts programs can provide them with an outlet for expressing their feelings in a positive way. Participatory creative arts programs also can lead to an increased sense of well-being, as well as decreased rates of psychological issues such as depression.

How has art impacted your life? Share your comments below or join our conversation on Facebook.

If you’d like to learn more about our Companion Care Services – like taking your loved one to his or her favorite art class – contact us today.

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