Pilot Dance Project Explores The Benefits of Dance Participation

The Centre for Elder Research is conducting a pilot project that explores the benefits of dance participation for individuals experiencing multiple chronic health conditions. Older adults are invited to participate in 12 weeks (two days a week) of complimentary dance classes. The classes will be led by a dance professional who will be providing modified instruction such as seated dancing.

In order to be eligible to participate in the dance program, the older adults must be 65 years of age and older. Both men and women are welcome! Participants must also be experiencing mobility issues and at least two other chronic health conditions.

Classes will run on Tuesday and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., starting Tuesday, April 4 and running until Thursday, June 22.

If you would like to know more about this program or to register for the classes, contact Kate Dupuis at 905-845-9430 extension 4229 or email Kate at kate.dupuis@sheridancollege.ca

See flyer for further details.


Arts and Aging: 5 Unconventional Means of Artistic Expression

Studies suggest that active participation in the creative and performing arts impacts the quality of life of adults 65+ by providing social, physical and emotional benefits. Art provides opportunities for older adults to engage in creative activities with like-minded individuals of all ages. Sharing their artwork with others enables artists’ voices to be heard in a positive and meaningful way which may also help to dispel ageist beliefs.

The artists below are a great example of how creative expression continues to flourish in later years.

At 109 years old, Alfie Dale, is Australia’s oldest person. According to an article in Daily Mail Australia he first learned to knit in 1932. Recently he has been using his knitting skills to help save penguins on Phillip Island from the effects of an oil spill by knitting jumpers for them.

Phil_Evanoff_Dancing_Girl_1982Bill Evenhoff
As reported in the article Mosaic Collection Created Bit by Bit, 96-year-old retired chemist Bill Evenhoff has created over 600 mosaics. He recently exhibited a sampling of his collection at the Patricia Scott Art Gallery in Bennett Hall at Ohio University. According to a review in Mosaic Art Now Evenhoff “has made mosaics for over 50 years for the sheer joy of it. The result is fresh, appealing, and utterly charming mosaic art.”

before-horiuchi-retired-he-wanted-to-try-something-newTatsuo Horiuchi
Creating his artwork on Excel spreadsheets, 74-year-old Tatsuao Horiuchi has wowed audiences on the Internet for several years according to an article in the Business Insider. He won the 2006 Excel Autoshape Contest along with exhibiting his work in Japan’s Gunma Museum of Art.

Image ‘Looking Up’ by Hal Lasko

Image ‘Looking Up’ by Hal Lasko

Hal Lasko
Pixel by pixel, over the last 13 years, 98-year-old Hal Lasko created works of art on a computer using Microsoft Paint. An article in Wired asked Lasko if he thinks about his paintings a lot, laughing Hal replied “that’s all I do.” He says he has “enjoyed every minute” of his work. Check out this short documentary called The Pixel Painter that showcases his passion for art.

Rafael Marchante/Reuters/Corbis

Rafael Marchante/Reuters/Corbis

An article entitled Senior Graffiti Artists Shatter Every Aging Stereotype, One Street at a Time highlights the work of a Portuguese urban art workshop for older adults. According to the article “Lisbon has a major street art scene and the program was set up to help the seniors not only understand and embrace street art, but also to help shatter stereotypes of both young and old.”

The artists highlighted here are a small sample of older adults who prove that there is no age limit when it comes to creativity.

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 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.”