During retirement years, seniors are given the gift of time to fulfill longstanding (or new) goals and ambitions. For many seniors, this means finally having the time to engage in the arts.
It turns out, this could be one of the healthiest decisions a senior can make.
The arts, of course, make up an incredibly broad category. This can mean painting, sculpture, photography, calligraphy, writing, acting, singing, playing a musical instrument, crafting … and on and on. There is, quite literally, something for everyone when it comes to finding a creative outlet.
So, why is this worth the effort?
A 2006 groundbreaking study on “Creativity and Aging” found that senior citizens who were involved in weekly arts programs scheduled fewer doctor visits, took less medicine, were in better physical health, and performed better on mental health measures. This study, conducted by Dr. Gene D. Cohen, director of the Center on Aging, Health & Humanities at George Washington University, showed the arts have a very real and very positive effect on overall morale – and reduce depression and loneliness.
A few years later, in 2011, Columbia University teamed with the University of California, Los Angeles, to study performance artists (actors, dancers, choreographers, musicians and singers) age 65 and older. Through this study the vast majority of older performers ranked “high” in life satisfaction and self-esteem – and they did not feel isolated in their senior years.
These studies helped spark the “creative movement” for seniors across the country. Groups like the National Center for Creative Aging were formed to help engage elders and allow them to create works that honor their life experience.
This movement also helped guide the programs and activities offered at senior centers and retirement communities, including here at The Saybrook at Haddam (and at our Safe Harbor Memory Care neighborhood). Increasingly, we are welcoming artistic instructors from our region to teach residents to paint, craft and create. We have a new bell choir and drama club which meet weekly and rehearse for live performances. We also host group discussions on books and films – and organize trips to concerts and plays performed at the many nearby theaters. And we travel to local museums and galleries to share in the appreciation and enjoyment of magnificent art created by others.
We want everyone at The Saybrook at Haddam to embrace their own creativity, to explore, to express themselves – and to enjoy a more enriched (and healthy) retirement experience along the way!
For a personalized tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or the Safe Harbor Memory Care neighborhood, please click to contact David Downey or call 860-345-3779.