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Melissa Castora-Binkley Elizabeth P. Handing South Florida. The increased capacity for creativity in later life is not a new concept.
The logic was ingenious: Eating vegetables turns children into big strong adults, so not eating vegetables should reverse the process. No grown-up would ever come up with that idea. But anyone with a 4-year-old can tell similar stories.
Creative art pursuits provide older adults with multiple benefits, not the least of which is enhanced cognitive function. Throughout history, artists have known that art provides benefits for both the creator and viewer. Current studies in the fields of art therapy, music therapy, and other creative modalities confirm that art can affect individuals in positive ways by inducing both psychological and physiological healing.
Longer lives beg the question, what can be done to age well? Participating in and enjoying artistic endeavors — even when seniors are not necessarily creatively inclined — can have a positive impact on health by creating a sense of purpose and keeping the mind busy. As seniors age, their lifestyles and priorities change, and aging well is frequently top of mind.
This entry will discuss primary prevention and creativity in older adults, in two important and distinct senses: First, what are the effects of being involved in creative activities like painting, photography, dance on the older persons? Little was known about either topic, until late in the twentieth century, and especially in the first decade of the twenty-first, when there was a sea change in thinking about older persons in the perspective of life development, from that of inevitable decline into pathology and senility with a deadly corollary, that creative actions by older persons were rarely possible, to the view based on new research that development may continue to the end of life and may indeed include creative acts, large and small Lindauer, Thus, the
One of the most widespread and persistent myths about creativity is that it is the domain of the young. So for example in surveying popular attitudes toward aging, the psychologist Dean Simonton observed that "Most conspicuous is the notion that creativity is the prerogative of youth, that aging is synonymous with a decrement in the capacity for generating and accepting innovations. This misconception is not restricted to the general public, for it is shared by Simonton and many of his fellow psychologists. In the single most ambitious empirical study of the relation between age and achievement, the psychologist Harvey Lehman concluded in that "the genius does not function equally well throughout the years of adulthood.
Perhaps a lot, when the singers are active and year-olds and the painters are in the throes of dementia. Creativity, some scientists say, may play an important role in healthy aging — conversely, the ill can shed extraordinary light on just how the brain perceives art. Are physical benefits real?
Creative engagement is to the aging brain as physical activity is to the aging body. Just as studies have shown older adults who maintain higher levels of muscle strength, flexibility, and aerobic capacity are healthier and better able to preserve their independent function longer than their more sedentary peers, an emerging body of literature suggests that those who engage in creative activities exhibit increased psychological well-being. For example, findings from the federally funded Creativity and Aging study spearheaded by the late Dr. Gene D.