Creativity in seniors, group of retired seniors painting

Series: Beyond the Bedside – Creativity

Promoting Greater Well-Being for Our Seniors

Part Two, Creativity

Beyond the Bedside is a series of articles that address the major issues surrounding the care of our senior population, with a focus on elements outside of bedside care. There are many other factors to consider when discussing a person’s overall health. 

Creativity is the focus of the second part of the series. Flexing creative muscles have a positive impact on the well-being of seniors and lead to greater longevity. This article will cover all facets of creativity and is not limited to the arts.

Creativity Never Gets Old

No one is beyond being creative. To feel that we’re not creative is a common side effect of comparing ourselves to brilliant artists such as Shakespeare and Van Gogh. Anyone can develop their creativity by devoting time to activities that have captured their interest in the past or are discovering for the first time.

Aging does not imply that a person’s desire to be creative diminishes. Indeed, the opposite is true, and our interests evolve with time, and for some, they may change entirely.

Creative Living Benefits Seniors

Gene Cohen, MD, Ph.D., was the first researcher to conduct a comprehensive national study on quality of life. As we age, Dr. Cohen discovered that the arts have a beneficial effect on our health and well-being. According to the study, the cultural groups exhibited true stability and improvement after just one year compared to the control groups.

Participants in cultural programs kept their independence and limited their dependency by participating in community-based activities, despite the average age being older than life expectancy. The study shows that older adults at risk for long-term care can utilize community-based cultural programs as a means of decreasing their risks.

The Wide Range of Advantages

  • Improves mood
  • Boosts self-esteem
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Enhances social interaction
  • Reduces depression and anxiety
  • Reduces boredom
  • Provides a sense of control
  • Fosters spirituality

What Creativity Looks Like

How are we to know what interests us if never given a chance to experiment? It is ingrained in some of us that slowing down equates to being unproductive. The ability to pause and reflect on areas other than work enables us to be more inspired. If we spent all that time being busy, we never had the ability to discover. Some interests have been neglected, so now is the perfect moment to learn something new.

Music

There is something to be said about music’s capacity to reawaken our sense of self. Additionally, it may inspire your loved one to dance! Musical preferences do evolve, as does the likings of musical options.

Research shows that listening to music that elicits an emotional response in the listener, like an old record or a favorite song, can benefit the brain. Listening to music is a beautiful method to rekindle a cherished memory. It enriches both the listener and others around them by providing an opportunity to reminisce and enjoy the music. Discover what music may awaken an old memory by listening to this free music playlist on YouTube.

Additionally, it is imperative that we do not overlook our senior’s musical skills; if they can play or would like to learn an instrument, encourage them to pursue their ambitions.

Art Exercises

Although numerous creative ideas come quickly to mind, including painting, knitting, drawing, writing, and crafts – creative possibilities are abundant. Restriction of your art takes the fun out of self-expression. Now is the time to forge your own path, find what you like, and understand your likes and dislikes. Until you try it, you’ll never know if you’ll enjoy it. Our seniors may not enjoy watercolor, literature, or movies today, but might appreciate them in the future, so be sure to revisit opportunities. There are extensive lists of ideas such as this one that include one hundred different options. Discovering choices may be the boost a resident needs to get their creative gears turning.

Art Appreciation

Never underestimate the value of art appreciation. Observing art or creative works might help make the transition from wanting to create to actually creating. Occasionally, we find ourselves in a creative rut. For instance, if a client is interested in photography, immerse them in a photographic world. Browse beautiful landscapes, wildlife, athletic events, vintage automobiles, or portraits. Appreciating photography may provide them with the motivation they need to get back behind the shutter.

Outside the Box Creativity

Creativity indeed deviates from the usual definition, a subjective concept that the individual and their interests determine. For instance, would a client be open to trying a new hairstyle? Or is a resident still smitten with cosmetics and eager to try a new shade or application? These are examples of creative instruments. Individuals can benefit from self-expression by increasing their self-esteem and motivating them to be more creative.

There are many ways to foster creativity that does not involve a paintbrush. Offer residents the opportunity to participate in a class, read or listen to a novel of a different genre, meditate, or write a poem. Additionally, keep in mind that often being creative entails establishing an environment conducive to it.

Next in the Series

Overall, creative activities should be enjoyable and contribute to a loved one’s quality of life. If it’s not, put it aside for now and give it another shot in the future. Seniors gain significantly by engaging in creative activities. In addition, they experience increased quality of life, improved health, less long-term anxiety and depression, and an increased sense of social connection.

We began by discussing the issue of social isolation, and we’ve since focused on promoting creativity. In the third and last part of the series, we’ll address the importance of seniors staying active.

Seniors can take the next step towards living a healthier life by adding movement to their daily routine. Not only does it promote overall health and well-being, but it is especially critical for seniors due to their increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

The key is finding an activity that fits an individual’s personality and lifestyle. Plus, maintaining strength and balance can help our loved ones retain independence as they age by reducing the chance of falls. All these benefits make exercising regularly a worthwhile investment of time.

Further Reading
Part 1, Social Isolation

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