by Shauna Dorko, Sidney SeniorCare –
I think we can all agree that “The Arts” offers something special for everyone, whether it’s that ballroom dance class once a week, live jazz night at the pub around the corner, or simply that unusual painting that touches your heart for reasons that even you don’t fully understand.
Age does not diminish our appreciation for the Arts; it cultivates it, like a fine wine that gets better as the years go by. With growing older comes more experience, more knowledge and more awareness of the special niche that music, art, theatre and dance hold in our lives, and in our hearts.
Although there is no doubt that the Arts offer invaluable benefits for all age groups; the benefits for seniors may be far greater. Whether it be from simply observing or actively participating in the Arts, the great pleasure and overall sense of well-being that seniors derive from both visual and performing arts is incredibly sustaining for them. Health is improved mentally, psychologically, and even physically in some cases.
Arts events encourage seniors to get out more, engage with their community more, and even contribute, as they explore a side of themselves that they perhaps haven’t dared to before. Attending performances and arts exhibitions, viewing films and taking opportunities to meet both local and visiting artists invigorates seniors, giving them a renewed sense of self and purpose. Even the seemingly simple pure enjoyment of a performance or piece of art keeps seniors’ minds busy, alleviating boredom and chasing the potential of depression and loneliness away.
The positive impact of participation in arts-based activities allows seniors to develop skills and artistic sensibilities, as well as collaborate with others in a safe, supportive environment. Participation in the visual arts helps seniors to maintain hand-eye coordination, cognitive abilities, and concentration. Learning how to creatively write, paint or take interesting photographs instills confidence and encourages personal growth. Individual projects help to develop confidence and nurture passions, while seniors create art that is meaningful to them; whereas working together in groups enhances social skills, fostering a sense of connection and contribution to a wider community.
As our senior population is increasing, thankfully so does the importance placed on healthy aging. Community programming is constantly being re-evaluated to include more senior-based classes and senior-supported activities, with an emphasis on the Arts.
I don’t know about you, but that certainly gives me more peace of mind about my own senior years to come; and good to know that those Zumba classes I’ve been dabbling in are a great start to my healthy aging journey.
Written in collaboration with Sherrin Griffin. We welcome all comments, suggestions and ideas for future columns. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Seniors” in the subject line.