Staying Creative Into the Golden Years Is a Plus
If you’ve got a senior loved one in an elder care facility, then chances are good that you may have heard some people encouraging seniors to participate in painting and other creative activities.
But is there any science behind the idea that creative activities can actually help seniors thrive? Should you be encouraging your senior loved ones to be creative? Read on to find out why creative pursuits in the Golden Years can actively contribute to health and wellness.
Finding a Sense of Purpose in Creativity
The science, in a word, says yes. According to a Journal of Aging Studies analysis of subjects ranging from age 60 to 93, there are six features of successful aging. These include: having a sense of purpose, personal growth, self-acceptance, interactions with others, autonomy, and health.
The reason that creative activities like painting are so helpful in promoting health and wellness is because creative activities hit many of these areas: purpose, growth, autonomy, as well as encouraging a sense of competence.
Many people may have spent most of their younger years raising children, working most of the time to support the household, or both. When those pursuits and activities go away, instilling a new sense of purpose becomes critical. Being able to produce something through art, especially something they can share with others, often helps fill that void.
Make a Painting! Anyone Can Do It
Many seniors are reluctant to pick up a paintbrush, get their hands in a lump of clay, or sit at a keyboard because they feel they do not have enough artistic skill. Once they get started though, many find they had more talent than they might have thought.
As VeryWellHealth discovered, there are also services that can help seniors uncover their inner artist. The Feather’s Touch, for example, is an organization that matches professional artists with senior community residents of all skill levels and cognitive abilities.
The organization, led by artist Sherita Sparrow, came about from her own experiences doing art therapy at a nursing home. She got such great feedback from the seniors that she decided to take the operation to the next level.
VeryWellHealth also notes several studies that support the conclusion that seniors who make art are happier and healthier. Dr. Joseph LeDoux, a behavioral neuroscientist at NYU, showed that new learning experiences can improve information processing and memory storage in older people, and a study of 300 seniors at the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C. found that seniors who attended an arts program had improved health after a year, as well as being less depressed, feeling less lonely, being more socially active, and taking fewer medications.
With Creativity, It’s Truly Never Too Late to Start
When should your senior start making art? Right now! The reality is that virtually everyone can benefit from making some kind of art, whether young or old. For many of us, it is difficult to find the time. Those who do often find it to be an extremely enriching experience.
For seniors who often have a great deal of time on their hands, making art can be even more rewarding and may help them to live longer, healthier lives.
Another very important factor for senior health is being in a warm, supportive environment where they can interact with others and their health needs can be met. If you are in the Portland Metro or Northern California area and are looking for such an environment for your senior loved one, Golden Placements can help. We find appropriate living situations for seniors with a wide range of care needs and to find many budgets. To learn more, contact Golden Placements today.