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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Lifetime Arts

Arts education benefits older adults. Here’s where to start your own program that embraces a wide variety of disciplines.

Most of us are aware of the many ways art enrichment benefits older adults. Even for those who can no longer speak or whose cognition has eroded, the arts provide a means of expression and social involvement. Dancing, playing music, sculpting, drawing and painting are   means to connect with others that are universal in their appeal across time, age and geography. The trick is how to find programs or teachers in your community.

Enter a company that links together the many pieces needed to get an arts program in place. Lifetime Arts “connects the people, funding, ideas and strategies necessary to increase the number and quality of professional arts programs for older adults.” No matter the size of your organization, Lifetime Arts offers customized consulting and programming services to meet your both your budget and your needs. Aging industry professionals in any field might look to their marketing models and community engagement techniques, or consider networking with the group.

Best Practices

A pair of free videos are offered to inform and assist visitors to the home page of the website. The first covers how the arts foster social community among older adults. It features a retired college professor who got “addicted” to a creative aging workshop series he attended in Tennessee. The video goes on to promote a model of program planning that ensures curricula promotes social sharing among participants.

The second video centers on the power of creative aging programs to give older adults “a renewed sense of purpose, improved wellbeing and connection.” Grants from Aroha, a funding and advocacy organization, have started arts programs in 50 states since 2016, and Aroha’s partnership with Lifetime Arts has resulted in training and technical assistance delivered to grantees.

Free Training Event

Lifetime Arts has put together training events, such as the spring 2019 gathering in New York City for the area’s Creative Aging initiative. Free events included a discussion led by one of their master teaching artists about social engagement and marketing ideas, as well as exploring ways to develop and strengthen partnerships with senior centers and older adult participants.

A networking salon offered strategies for teaching artists, as well as senior center and arts organization staff, to connect to the local community while increasing visibility. Artists in residence shared experiences while guided by a moderator who is also a teaching artist.

Lifetime Arts also features a blog, available on the home page. Recent offerings included the musings of a lifetime theater enthusiast mulling over where to move in retirement, and how the decision will affect his long career as a local playwright and performer. Another entry discusses the decision of when to retire, and how it’s vital to create your own roadmap independent of what others are doing, or risk feeling somehow inadequate. Yet another piece explores the way music benefits the aging mind, and includes an embedded video on humans and rhythm.

Whether or not you utilize the arts in your own work with older adults, you’ll come away from the site with a better idea of current trends and thinking, and possibilities about how you or your clients might access programs that are on the forefront of best practices. 

Click below for the other articles in the October 2019 Senior Spirit