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The CaraVita Blog

Drawing on the Arts to Promote Healthy Aging

Posted by CaraVita Staff on October 15 2020 | 5 minute read

CVHC_Creative Aging (1)

Julia Child wrote her first cookbook when she was 50. Laura Ingels Wilder published her first book at age 65.  Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, started painting at 78.  Louise Bourgeois wasn't featured in the Museum of Modern Art until she was 71.

While aging used to be viewed skeptically— seen as a decline in abilities and functioning - over time, there’s been a shift in the way people see aging. Now people consider growing older to be a positive rite of passage. Healthy aging is about continuing old passions or finding new ones, using your talents, and finding purpose in each and every day.

One way individuals can find purpose is through creative expression. Whether it’s art, writing, or music, the ability to express your creativity only grows with age. 

CaraVita Home Care, offering in-home care services to Roswell, Georgia, and the surrounding areas, has guided seniors through the aging journey for over 20 years. We hold the highest appreciation for our senior population and fully believe in the abilities of every individual, no matter what age, to age gracefully and creatively. 

Get Your Creative Juices Flowing 

Creative aging is defined as “the practice of engaging older adults (55+) in participatory, professionally run arts programs with a focus on social engagement and skills mastery (Lifetime Arts).” Simply put, creating aging allows older adults to embrace and enjoy aging through art and creativity. Most creative outlets also provide physical and mental benefits associated with healthy aging. 

Retirement is a Blank Canvas 

Self-expression through art is a skill that only grows with age. For example, Michelle Stuart is an 87-year-old who has collections of paintings and sculptures that have been in museums since 1968. According to her, all of life’s experiences have made her into a better artist. 

“Experience certainly gives you insights into things that you didn’t have in your earlier years. You’ve made more things, you’ve honed your craft, you’ve experienced more books, you’ve experienced more criticism or praise. You don’t need to worry about what people think. There’s that kind of freedom.”

Whether it’s painting, drawing, or sculpting, art therapy is a great way to express your emotions and experiences without using words. These forms of art therapy have countless benefits for older adults—and you don’t even need to be a professional artist to gain them. Some of the advantages of art therapy include: 

  • Creates a sense of control: Research has been done on the relationship between healthy aging and the sense of control or feeling confident and comfortable with specific tasks. This level of empowerment also increases the likelihood of adults exploring new opportunities and taking on new challenges. 
  • Reduces stress and anxiety: Creating art can be an effective way of relieving stress and anxiety, and even fighting depression. 
  • Stimulates mental and physical functioning: Through art therapy, individuals with dementia or other cognitive conditions can express themselves and share thoughts, emotions, and memories. The act of creating art can also help improve coordination and dexterity. 

It’s Music to Your Ears  

Music has a particularly special place in our lives. You’ll always remember the songs you played on the radio when you first learned to drive or the song that you danced to at your wedding. Interestingly enough, you might even remember all the words. This is because listening to music activates unique parts of our brain, including those related to language, memory, creativity, and rhythm. 

Much like art therapy, music therapy fosters creative and healthy aging, especially in those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. The act of listening or playing music can enhance mood and memory, making it an effective therapy choice that’s both creative and beneficial. Other benefits of music therapy include: 

  • Social interaction: Playing instruments in a group setting is an excellent way to spend time with other like-minded individuals. Each person can contribute their unique talents to a larger group to create a harmony of sounds. 
  • Mood enhancer: Listening to music connects with the part of our brains that deal with emotions. Music can make you feel happy, sad, contemplative, or energetic. 
  • Memory aid: Music can help recall a specific happy period in your life, and music therapy is a great tool used with individuals with dementia. According to Harvard Health, “the unique way that musical memories are stored in the brain may explain why people with Alzheimer's disease are sometimes able to remember music, even when other memories elude them (Harvard Health Publishing).” 

Music and art aren’t the only ways to age creatively. You can dance, act, take photographs, write, bake, or whatever else allows you to express your creativity and individuality. After all, “it’s the ‘making’ that keeps the heart and mind engaged. Creativity is the life-affirming power that lends itself to purpose.”  — Stephanie Raffelock

Encouraging Creativity and Passion at CaraVita

A pinnacle of the community since 1998, CaraVita Home Care embraces wellness, creativity, and healthy aging. We believe that creativity, originality, and self-expression are crafts that only get better with age, and we’re continually impressed and inspired by the people that we serve. 

Our in-home care services offer dedicated care and education to families in the Roswell, Georgia area. We empower those we serve, and their families, to live life to the fullest and embrace aging with joy, grace, and creativity. 

For more information on our in-home care services, please visit our website or contact a member of our team today.

Topics: Alzheimer's & Dementia, Wellness & Well-Being