Do Creative Activities Promote Healthy Aging?
We all know that a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and a generally healthy lifestyle promote successful aging. What isn’t as well-known is how the creative arts contribute to better overall health, especially as we age. Activities as diverse as music, dance, painting, quilting, singing, poetry-writing, and storytelling add meaning, joy, and a vibrant sense of wellbeing to the lives of older people.
Creativity and Better Health
A study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with The George Washington University examined the impact creative arts can have on the health and wellness of older adults. The results were surprising, even for those who have long believed art improves quality of life.
After just one year a majority of participants showed areas of stabilization and improved health. This was evidenced by:
- Fewer doctor’s visits
- Reduced number of falls
- Lower use of prescription medication
- Some even had improved immune system function
Psychology Today published a comprehensive review of more than 100 studies about the benefits of creativity. The results were undeniable: people who participate in any type of creative arts experience health benefits, including:
- Lower incidences of depression
- Greater feelings of joy
- More positive outlook on life
Finding Meaning and Purpose through Creative Arts
For those who spent their entire adult lives busy with careers and raising a family, retirement can suddenly leave them feeling directionless. Creative hobbies can help fill the gap and give older adults a sense of purpose.
Creating for the benefit of others can be especially rewarding. Some older adults might enjoy learning how to knit and join a volunteer group that knits blankets for hospitalized children.
Even the simplest creative projects can bring pleasure and improve health.
There are a variety of inexpensive creative projects for people of all skill levels! A few examples are:
- Adult coloring books: These are popular among people of all ages. They are beneficial for improving focus and concentration, and can be particularly effective for people who aren’t comfortable with more expressive forms of art. Coloring pages are also easily accessible by simply printing from online sites, Trail of Colors or Tried and True Blue.
- Stamping projects: You can buy inexpensive stamping supplies or a stamping kit at a dollar store or craft store. Use this to create notecards, greeting cards, or gift tags for packages.
- Floral arranging: Thanks to the grocery store, floral arrangements are cheaper than ever to create. You and your loved one can spend time creating a new centerpiece each week. YouTube is full of “how-to” videos that will help you learn the basics for free.
Live an Enriching Life at Sunrise
At Sunrise communities, we know the benefits of living an artful life. It’s a core component of our Live With Purpose program. Residents have opportunities to write poetry, enjoy a watercolor class, visit a local art museum, explore creative writing, and so much more!
Call the Sunrise Senior Living community nearest you to learn more!