Creativity and the Aging Process

September 08, 2015

paperThe act of thinking and acting creatively is a cognitively enriching experience that can strengthen the brain and build mental connections. For retired people, thinking creatively is an important part of maintaining mental vitality and staving off cognitive atrophy.

Benefits of Creative Thinking

By staying at home and engaging in fewer mentally stimulating activities, many people experience a cognitive decline in their retirement years. The brain is like a muscle that must be used in order to remain strong and healthy. The benefits of mental creativity are three fold:

  • Emotional benefits. Many creative tasks, like playing games and attending classes, are done in group settings. Building social connections through creative activities can prevent isolation and emotional problems like depression.
  • Mental benefits. Creative tasks with a significant cognitive component like playing a musical instrument, doing crossword puzzles and playing card games can strengthen memory function and keep the brain flexible and healthy.
  • Physical benefits. Creative tasks like dancing and traveling have a significant physical component that can help seniors stay physically healthy.

Staying Creative in Retirement

In nearly every community, there are a variety of ways that seniors can stay creative into retirement. Meeting places like senior centers and recreation centers often have activities and classes aimed at the senior population.

Seniors who live close to a university or college can consider taking continuing education classes. Continuing education classes can lead to the development of new hobbies, can help seniors find friends among the general population, and can give seniors the chance to pursue interests they were unable to develop earlier in adulthood.

Assisted living facilities, retirement homes, and nursing homes also provide activities for seniors. These environments recognize the unique needs of seniors and put on activities that are appropriate for the age and skill level of older adults. Seniors who live in one of these facilities have access to classes and activities held throughout the day.

Staying creative into retirement can help seniors retain their physical and mental strength, and can help them develop the relationships they need in order to be happy during their golden years. Ultimately, by engaging in games, crafts, athletic activities and more, seniors can improve their quality of life.

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