The Arts, Health, and Aging in America: 2005–2015

Author: 
Gay Powell Hanna, PhD, MFA
Linda S. Noelker, PhD
Beth Bienvenu, PhD

Abstract:  In advance of the White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) in 1981, 1995, and 2005, the arts and aging communities held mini-conferences to ensure that arts, culture, and livability were part of larger public policy discussions. This article takes a historical look at recommendations from the 2005 WHCoA Mini-Conference on Creativity and Aging in America, including arts in health care, lifelong learning, and livability through universal design. Overarching recommendations in 2005 requested investments in research, including cost-benefit analyses; identification of best practices and model programs; program dissemination to broaden the availability of arts programs. The “Arts” is a broad term encompassing all forms of arts including music, theater, dance, visual arts, literature, multimedia and design, folk, and traditional arts to engage the participation of all older Americans; promotion of innovative public and private partnerships to support arts program development, including workforce development (e.g., artists, social workers, and health care providers); and public awareness of the importance of arts participation to healthy aging.Through the leadership of the National Endowment for the Arts and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, thinking about the arts and aging has broadened to include greater emphasis on a whole-person approach to the health and well-being of older adults.This approach engages older adults in arts participation not only as audience members, but as vital members of their community through creative expression focusing on life stories for intergenerational as well as interprofessional collaboration. This article reviews progress made to date and identifies critical gaps in services for future consideration at a 2015 Mini-Conference on Creativity and Aging related to the WCHoA area of emphasis on healthy aging. 

Language: 
English
Resource/Research Type:
Resource Type: Journal Article
Document Details:
Author: Gay Powell Hanna, PhD, MFA, Linda S. Noelker, PhD , Beth Bienvenu, PhD
Journal: The Gerontologist
Volume: 55
Issue: 2
Pages: 271-277
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