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Research Shows Art Has Positive Effects for Healthy Aging
George Washington University's Center on Aging, Health & Humanities conducted a
ground-breaking study to measure the impact of professionally conducted creative programs on
the general health, mental health, and social activities of persons age 65 and older. The study
was of older persons who at the beginning of the study were of average age 80 and were living
independently. With 300 persons in the study, they were divided into two groups: those who
would participate in cultural creative activities, such as painting, pottery, dance, music, drama.
The other half of the group continued in their normal patterns, without the added opportunities
for regular creative activities.
Tests were conducted on each participant, using a General Health Assessment, Mental Health
Assessment, and Social Functioning Assessment at the beginning of the study, a year later,
and again at the second-year mark.
Results showed that the group with artistic (cultural) participation had measurably more
positive effects regarding overall physical health, mental and emotional health
(morale), and social interaction.
The Final Report of the project conclusions was published in April 2006. You can read the
complete report on the website of George Washington University's Center on Aging, Health &
Humanities, where it is published for public access. Click on link below:
Research Shows Art has Positive Effects on Alzheimer's and
Dr. Gene Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., was professor of healthcare sciences, professor of psychiatry
and behavioral sciences at George Washington University Center on Aging, Health &
Humanities in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Cohen in his book, The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of
Life, writes about observational studies and case reports on the impact of art and art therapy
on alleviating illness in later life. He refers to imagination persisting even though memory fails.
The research shows that although families experience the losses associated with a family
member with dementia or Alzheimer's, there are still opportunities for families to engage with the
patient in a personal way through creative activities. The contribution of imagination and
interaction bring times of relief and good feelings for the family to savor in the midst of
challenging tasks and relationships. Cohen reminds us that health is best promoted when
opportunities for positive experiences are explored, finding quality of life in the unexpected
experiences of imagination and creativity. He urges family members and caregivers to look for
the potential in every person, no matter what the degree of affliction may be. He calls this the
"ultimate art and creativity of medicine and healthcare, bringing hope and clarity to situations
that might otherwise be challenged by despair and confusion." (The Creative Age: Awakening
Human Potential in the Second Half of Life. New York: Avon Books)
|"You Can Do It! ART" is on the leading edge of this creative
revolution for the elderly! We are thrilled to be helping patients and
caregivers discover their creative potential!
See what's happening.
|Links for more about Art and Alzheimer's:
When Words Have Lost Their Meaning. Book by Ruth Abraham. Alzheimer's patients communicate through
"Art Awakens Alzheimer's Patients' Minds"-- 2006 article on ABCNews.com about visits to art museum
positively affecting Alzheimer's patient. s http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Health/Story?id=2146253&page=1
Study in Brighton, UK, showed persons with Alzheimer's had improvement in their symptoms after a
ten-week course in art. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/349579.stm
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