Now in its fifth year, the Creative Aging Public Libraries Project is a demonstration and capacity-building program that supports collaborations between professional teaching artists and public libraries resulting in free instructional arts programs for older adults. The program has been developed by Lifetime Arts, a national nonprofit organization based in New York, in partnership with eight major library systems in four states. To build the capacity of libraries to initiate, develop, and sustain creative aging programming, Lifetime Arts provides incentive grants to select library system partners and employs a replicable program model and approach that includes professional development, ongoing technical assistance, and access to resources for participating librarians, library administrators, artists, and other partners.
The number of older adults is rapidly increasing throughout the world. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the number of adults over age 65 in the U.S. will almost double by 2030. There is a pressing need to develop novel, sustainable, and cost-effective approaches for promoting health and well-being among elders residing in our communities. Although not yet widely recognized, community arts programs may be a unique approach to achieving those ends. Choral singing is a practical activity that can be easily translated into many community settings. A 2009 Chorus America study reported that choral singing is the most popular arts hobby in the U.S. – 32.5 million adults regularly sing. Choral programs can also be offered at relatively low cost and can provide opportunities for cultural expression.
Abstract: “This article examines arts and aging research over a 40-year period in four highly visible gerontology journals. We examine the content, amount, and distribution of research between 1970 and 2009, identifying dominant themes and research paradigms. Results reveal six themes, with the vast majority of arts research occurring between the late 1980s and early 1990s. Using a critical gerontology lens, we identify and explore the implications of two dominant, often conflicting paradigms that have shaped trends in arts research over the last 40 years. We conclude with recommendations for future arts research for the era of the third age.”
Abstract: “Aging continues to be an important topic of study. For many older adults, the elder years can be a challenging, if not difficult, time. Creativity interventions have been shown to positively affect mental and physiological health indicators. The process of creating and one’s attitude toward life may be more important than the actual product or tangible outcome. While many activities are those typically thought of as creative, such as painting, there are also a number of useful interventions that are not traditionally identified as creative ones, but that are, in fact, creative activities. This paper describes recent work with creativity in older adults, including research and clinical projects, and earlier works that could be refined as creative interventions. Recommendations for further investigation of creativity also are presented.”