Arts and Aging: Inspiring Resources from the 2015 Creative Age Conference

2015 banner 4The director of the Centre for Elder Research recently returned from the National Center for Creative Aging 2015 National Leadership Exchange and Conference in Washington DC (along with an Elders Share the Arts workshop).

Here is a sampling of some of the inspirational programs, reports, and companies mentioned at the conference that are part of a growing community of arts-based initiatives providing access to the arts for older adults.

Kairos Alive
Based in Minnesota, the Kairos Alive Dance Company promotes intergenerational, interactive participatory dance opportunities for older adults through its programs and performances in schools, long-term care homes, museums, parks, and community centres.

Elders Share the Arts (ESTA)
In New York City, ESTA “offers older adults rigorous arts programming that ignites creative expression, cultivates their role as bearers of history and culture, and generates new pathways to connect them to their communities” using theater arts, visual arts, storytelling, and writing.

Frame Works Institute
Gauging Aging: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Aging in America. “This report lays the groundwork for a larger effort to develop a new, evidence-based narrative around the process of aging in our country and the needs and contributions of older adults. By comparing experts’ views to those of average Americans, the report details a set of communications challenges to efforts to elevate public support for policies and programs that promote the well-being of older adults. Key among these is the public’s view of aging as a decidedly negative and deterministic process, as well as its overall fatalism about our collective ability to find solutions to the challenges of an aging population. The report concludes with initial strategic recommendations for addressing these communications challenges.”

EngAGE
“EngAGE catalyzed the development of and provides programs for The Burbank Senior Artists Colony, a first-of-its-kind 141-unit senior apartment community that offers art and creativity as the core physical and intellectual unifying amenity.”

“The community features a theater group, independent film company, fine arts collective, music program, intergenerational arts program with the Burbank Unified School District, and the following amenities for artists in their second 50 years of creativity: 60-seat Theatre, Arts Studios, Music Performance Spaces, Computer Media Arts Center, Digital Filmmaking Lab, Outdoor Performance Areas, Art Gallery, and Sculpture Garden.”

National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA)
The NCCA Creative Caregiving Initiative produced a free, web-based and community-shared NCCA Creative Caregiving Guide for care partners of older adults with cognitive challenges such as Alzheimer’s disease that will be available to the general public July 2015. The guide provides step-by-step video lessons of creative caregiving practices.

Lifetime Arts
Lifetime Arts mission is to “encourage creative aging by promoting the inclusion of professional arts programs in organizations that serve older adults; to prepare artists to develop the creative capacity of older adult learners; and to foster lifelong learning in and through the arts by increasing opportunities for participation in community based programming.”

Their Creative Aging Toolkit “for Public Libraries is a free, online resource for librarians. It offers access to information about aging and libraries, creative aging research, and best practices in the field. The toolkit contains insights, tips, tools and templates to be used when planning, implementing and sustaining successful programs.”

Aroha Philanthropies
“Aroha Philanthropies works to improve the quality of life of people 55+ by advancing the development of professional teaching artists working with those in their encore years, and encouraging the funding, development, and proliferation of arts programs designed to enhance longer lives.”

Grantmakers in Aging (GIA)
GIA provides “its members with a personal connection to key people, high-quality resources, and state-of-the art ideas about aging and all issues related to aging. Dedicated to promoting and strengthening grantmaking for an aging society, GIA is the only international professional organization of grantmakers active in the field.”

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