Creative Expression is the Key to Living Well as a Senior

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Creative Expression is the Key to Living Well as a Senior

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We're celebrating Older Americans MonthMay is Older Americans Month, and we’re joining the rest of the United States in celebrating older adults like the residents of Deupree House.

Every year since 1963, when John F. Kennedy issued the first of what would be an annual proclamation, our nation has come together to honor older adults and celebrate senior life. This national tradition publicizes the contributions that older adults have made to their neighborhoods, communities, and country.

Every year, this month of ceremonies and celebration is given a theme. In 2012, we were “Never Too Old to Play.” This year, we’re going to “Unleash the Power of Age” in every aspect of senior life at Deupree House and communities across the country. Creativity is a powerful force that enriches senior life. As an older adult, you can unleash the power of age by taking part in creative endeavors within your community.

Senior life at Deupree House offers plenty of opportunities for creative expression

Creativity is a common touch point for people of all ages, cultures, genders, and abilities. The arts allow us to bridge the cultural and generational gaps that are inherent in communication.

The visual and performance arts can serve as a powerful way for older adults to engage in meaningful self-expression and build relationships within their community. Taking part in the arts can help older adults make sense of experiences in senior life, and understanding the present can help seniors keep living well into the future.

Performance Arts

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but dance and drama combine the expressiveness of both the verbal and visual mediums into a single performance.

Older adults that are drama lovers are able to share their story through performance and celebrate lifelong achievements with their community. Dance provides a way for older adults to express themselves and engage in the kind of light physical activity that keeps us living well as we age.

Just as with other exercise, dance helps improve sleep, mood, flexibility, coordination, balance, endurance, and overall health.

Music

Music is one of the greatest joys in life—one that has manifold benefits for senior life. Music brings together people from all cultures and walks of life, and it also has proven health benefits.

  • Older adults who regularly play music are less likely to experience anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Studies from across the United States show that playing a musical instrument helps reduce stress and elevate mood.
  • Learning to play music can be a part of a brain fitness routine that promotes better cognition in senior life. According to research from Northwestern University, actively working with musical sounds enhances your brain's ability to adapt and change as you age.

So dust off your instruments and unbury your sheet music. Put together a whole group of musicians, and start making music again. It will keep you living well longer and help strengthen community ties.

Creative expression enriches senior lifePainting and Handicrafts

The North Dakota Council on the Arts has found that senior life is greatly enriched through the creation of art, promoting better mental health and brain fitness.

The Art for Life project has introduced folk art into senior living communities across North Dakota to great effect. Older adults who participated in the program saw an increase in mood. Art provided a sense of purpose that reduced feelings of helplessness, boredom, and loneliness.

Deupree residents can enrich senior life by taking art classes at our Art Studio.

Regardless of age or physical and mental ability, older adults can and should participate in creating art. And a partnership between the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, the National Center for Creative Aging, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center provides the tools to make it possible.

The Arts and Aging Toolkit has the resources that older adults when they need to find “professional teaching artists” or want to get involved in high-quality arts programs.

Bryan Reynolds
By
May 24, 2013
Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

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