Art is an incredibly powerful and transformative force. For children, creative endeavors such as art, music, and dance classes have been shown to fortify performance in other classes outside of these fields of study. And creativity expands beyond these more strictly artistic endeavors. For students who have trouble with some of the concepts in math and science class, hands-on engineering and shop classes have provided an alternative path to understanding.
Unfortunately, as we age, many of us have less and less of an opportunity to create. After a certain point, the thought of re-engaging in these pursuits rarely enters our minds, and the thought of starting fresh in a creative field later in life is almost impossible to contemplate. But an emphasis on art and creativity has been shown to have an incredible impact on the physical and mental well-being of seniors.
Even passively engaging with the arts has proven to have extraordinary effects. In the field of memory care, allowing a patient with dementia to listen to music from their childhood has been shown to improve mood, memory, and communication. When residents are actively involved in creative endeavors, the benefits are even more widespread.
Studies have shown that seniors who participate in creative activities have lower rates of depression and anxiety, along with improved feelings of happiness and satisfaction. The benefits are more than just mental and emotional. Seniors engaged in the creative arts have been shown to have lower blood pressure, suffer fewer falls, require fewer doctor visits, and need less medication.
For these reasons, it’s important to take a look at the activity and event calendar when searching for the right senior living community. Here are some more great benefits for seniors who engage in creative pursuits.
Restore a Sense of Purpose and Engagement
A feeling of aimlessness often leads seniors to become depressed. This lack of direction isn’t hard to understand. Whether someone has defined themselves by going to work, caring for their children, caring for their spouse, or even just maintaining their home after retirement, these responsibilities tend to go away as we age. Suddenly, seniors have a lot of time on their hands, and nothing readily apparent to fill it. Learning or re-learning an instrument, taking up art, or learning to dance can provide motivation to get up and get moving.
As we age, it’s easy to think of the things we can no longer do. That’s why learning something new can be so powerful. Seniors who take up a creative pursuit are provided with regular opportunities to learn and gain a sense of accomplishment. This sense of accomplishment tends to build a senior’s confidence in themselves, confidence they take with them to other pursuits. And thanks to the multitude of ways to be creative, even seniors who’ve lost mobility or dexterity have a world of possibilities to explore when it comes to creative endeavors.
Creative classes and activity sessions provide regular opportunities to engage with others. And the shared experience of learning and creating provides a common platform from which to begin conversation and forge new friendships. Many seniors become increasingly withdrawn, leading to depression and other complications. Engaging in creative activities has helped many seniors to come out of their shells and reconnect with the world around them.
So to answer the question posed by the title of this post: It’s a resounding “yes!” Creative activities do promote healthy aging. That’s why creative activities are a focal point of life at the Lexington Square assisted living communities. Here in the Chicago area, there’s always been a strong focus on the arts, and we proudly continue that tradition in our assisted living programs.