The Arts Provide Benefits That Run Deep

The rolling hills, woodland setting and proximity to Lakes Pomerleau and Camelot provide endless inspiration to the residents of Trillium Woods senior living community. Located in Plymouth, Minnesota, near Minneapolis, there is a rich cultural landscape both locally and on campus. Across the country, October marks the 30th anniversary of National Arts and Humanities Month, and seniors at Trillium Woods have a lot to celebrate.

Research and Studies Highlight Positive Findings

Participation in the arts illuminates lives and provides emotional and even physical enrichment. Studies that span the globe are all drawing the same conclusion: pursuing the arts and creativity has a positive impact on cognitive and physical performance and improves quality of life.

Song and Dance as Prevention and Therapy

Music and movement activities have demonstrated benefits among older adults. Improved mental health, cognition and emotional well-being are typical results reported from studies, initiatives and research, such as the National Endowment for the Arts’ literature review on the arts and human development. Seniors in singing groups sustained the effects of the health benefits for three months even after the group stopped meeting. Singing impacts health through focused attention, deep breathing, social support, cognitive stimulation, and regular commitment.

There is value in movement and dance for older adults as well. It has been shown to improve strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, gait and endurance. Dance can also stimulate feelings of nostalgia and memory through familiar music.

Social Ties are the Ties that Bind

An unsung yet significant benefit of seniors’ participation in arts is engagement in their community and forming relationships with other seniors. Isolation goes down, morale goes up, as do feelings of confidence. Social ties and shared experiences provide a unique set of benefits: health-seeking behavior, increased mobility, enhanced communication and a sense of belonging. Fortified social supports help manage anxiety and depression and increase resiliency.

Art as a Component of Holistic Health

Physical, mental and social wellbeing work together and are all key components for seniors to prioritize. There are vast opportunities to participate in the arts; engaging in literature, music, art, dance, or even storytelling are mediums that provide benefits. The use of cultural encounters helps to maintain a positive sense of self, create a sense of community, counters isolation, and has measurable positive health implications.

Use National Arts and Humanities month as an excuse to pick up a paintbrush, enjoy a play, read a classic, sing in a choir or sway to the music. Delve back into a pushed-aside hobby or try something completely new. The arts open up an enriching world and everyone is welcome. To learn more about the arts programming at Trillium Woods or about its amenities and activities, call (763) 553-7600.

http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/exploring-value-arts-and-culture/value-arts-and-culture-people-and-society

http://seniorsmatter.com/engaging-in-creative-arts-is-beneficial-to-the-elderly/

https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/TheArtsAndHumanDev.pdf