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March 23, 2018

Creative arts benefit body, mind and spirit at retirement communities

The typical retiree today isn’t content to simply live longer—he or she wants to age well. Many seniors are doing exactly that by remaining involved in favorite activities for as long as they can.

Some enhance the quality of senior living by embracing creative arts. These might be activities they have enjoyed for years or ones they have discovered since moving to a retirement home community. Many seniors are able to tap into talent they didn’t even know they had.

Creative expression in retirement has proven health benefits

Experts in both physical and mental health say these seniors are participating in activities that are not just entertaining but are also beneficial to their overall well-being.

“As we age, our creative abilities have the potential to grow and compensate for areas of loss, whether it’s physical, cognitive or emotional, says Marc Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist and author of How We Age. “Creativity is not just an artistic skill but a way of thinking, engaging in relationships and problem-solving.”

Experts in aging who believe strongly in the healing and nurturing power of the creative arts have even formed an organization to increase awareness of it. The National Center for Creative Aging promotes the relationship between creative expression and healthy aging and develops programs that encourage seniors in artistic endeavors.

Many therapists who treat older persons use creative arts to help them express their feelings in a positive manner. They find that creative expression gives seniors a sense of purpose, maintains their coordination and concentration and improves their mental health.  Participation in creative arts can reduce depression and anxiety in seniors with dementia, Parkinson’s disease or other chronic degenerative diseases.

Working alongside friends on creative art projects is also an excellent way to socialize and maintain fellowship. Please see our tip sheet listing the benefits of social activities at retirement communities where creative arts and other hobbies are strongly encouraged and available.

Opportunities for creative expression at Country Meadows Retirement Communities

At Country Meadows Retirement Communities, we provide creative activities for our residents, and we encourage their participation. Among activities popular among residents are ones that keep hands and mind active and provide a social outlet as well.

Creative activities available at our 11 campuses are painting, sketching, photography, clay modeling, mosaics, ceramics, jewelry making, knitting, crocheting, quilting, flower arranging, wreath making, beer brewing and scrapbooking. These arts are also used in a number of outreach projects at Country Meadows—making cards for children in hospitals, knitting hats and scarves for homeless youth and making blankets and sleeping mats for homeless shelters.

While some programs are available at all our senior living communities, others may currently be available at just some locations because residents there have expressed interest. The Country Meadows Community Life teams survey residents as well as organize resident-led committees to inspire and drive the activity choices we offer.

A popular annual artistic effort at Country Meadows takes the form of a friendly competition. For the past six years, we have held a Holiday Card Art Contest, with a record number of 220 entries last year. The winning design is featured on the Country Meadows holiday card and, along with 10 other finalists, is displayed online and on a poster at each campus.

When choosing a retirement community, be sure to ask what activities are offered at the senior communities you visit.  We would welcome your visit to any of our 10 Pennsylvania retirement communities or our Frederick, Maryland location. Please contact us to request information or to schedule a visit. We can show you our senior independent living communities as well as our assisted living or personal care homes. We also offer memory support for older persons in need of dementia care and restorative care for those with chronic conditions or recovering from surgery or illness.

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