May 23, 2018

Art In All Forms Is Used To Promote Healthy Aging

Last month an article in the New York Times highlighted some incredible programs that use various forms of art to promote healthy aging in seniors. One program called the Music and Memory Project gave iPods playing music from their generation to seniors affected by dementia. Before the music, they had problems recalling any memories and some were even unresponsive all together. Once they heard the recognizable music of their day, their dispositions changed immediately. Some experienced a flood of memories, some danced in their chair, smiled and some sung along. During Vitality Ballet classes, we too notice an emotional response to familiar tunes played during ballet class. Some of the songs our participants enjoy dancing to the most are “I Got Rhythm”, “Edelweiss” and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”.

The article highlights other forms of art helping seniors such as painting and visual arts. Of course, it was the part about dancing with seniors that caught our attention. The program they highlighted is called Dances For A Variable Population, based in New York. The program gets older adults dancing, even from their chair, much like Vitality Ballet does in St. Louis. The director of their program says: “Movement enriches the quality of their lives. It’s absolutely healing. Balance, mobility, strength — everything improves.” The article emphasizes how the arts heal and promote healthy aging through social engagement which has been linked in population studies to longevity.

Article Source: Using the Arts to Promote Healthy Aging