Creative Aging may be the new hot a new catchphrase. But what is Creative Aging?
What is Creative Aging?
Creative aging is “the practice of engaging older adults (55+) in participatory, professionally run arts programs with a focus on social engagement and skills mastery,” according to the non-profit organization Lifetime Arts
Creative aging also has much to do with health. Wellness can be achieved in many ways, including using creativity to work the mind and body. Studies show that for those over 65, people involved in weekly art programs have fewer doctor visits and take less medication than those without creative outlets
Why do those involved in weekly art programs take less medication and have fewer doctors visits? The difference may be solely due to the creative/problem-solving stimulations made at these programs. But social connections made are likely to also be a reason.
“One of the values of Creative Aging programming, especially in the Lifetime Arts model, is that the sequential and skill building nature of these programs promotes meaningful social interaction. This is particularly true in contrast to many arts programs designed for older adults which tend to be one-off events or passive entertainment. These lack the potential for people to get to know each other or come together around a goal of creating something new.” — Ed Friedman, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Lifetime Arts.
Art Beyond Macaroni Necklaces
These programs are also challenging. They are a step far beyond the macaroni-making-necklace classes into programs taught by trained artists. Cee Cee Hodgson with c.c. hodgson architectural group spoke with us earlier about creative aging.
“One of the organizations I really love is the National Center for Creative Aging. It really is focused primarily on the Arts, but it is the whole range of arts. Everything from poetry to acting. Playwright to dance. Singing. Handwriting. Being an author. It is rooted in the Gene Cohen philosophy. He wrote the book, ‘The Creative Age.’ His philosophy or premise is that we actually get more creative as we age because of our collective experiences. . . I think it’s a very motivating philosophy. . . [I]t allows you to try and potentially fail at what you’re trying to create. But you have this sense, ‘I can do this!’ Based on your experience, and frankly your wisdom and age.” — Cee Cee Hodgeson, Wellness Trends in Senior Housing and Programming
“So I like that whole creative age philosophy. . . [I]t elevates [programming] to a very adult level. So often we infuriate our residents in some of these programs by being too simplistic. Painting class shouldn’t be almost a paint-by-numbers approach. Rather [we should] study the artist, the artist’s principles. Maybe have an actual artist teaching, where it is at an adult level, rather than utilizing Bingo as a socializing engagement of the month.” — Cee Cee Hodgson, Wellness Trends in Senior Housing and Programming
It’s the ‘making,’ that keeps the heart and mind engaged. Creativity is the life affirming power that lends itself to purpose. — Stephanie Raffelock
Age is an advantage. It informs our creativity.
So what can we as Boomers do to take part in creative aging? The National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) suggests being involved in a community-based arts program that also provides younger generations with positive role models. A program that encourages a strong sense of meaning and purpose. NCCA is a good place to start your search: http://creativeaging.org.
Creative Aging is a good thing for everyone on a local and national level.