Unlike the previous years, when people were sent into nursing homes in order to sing some songs to the elder, a thing which they rarely enjoyed, things have changed. In the majority of the cases, the choir was eager to finish singing, as the elders listened quietly to the songs. Things have changed a lot since then, as nowadays the elders are very active when they receive a visit.
It seems that many residents of the nursing homes write and act in plays, compose songs, write stories, and dance as often as they can. Numerous of them are unable to walk in the proper manner; some suffer from memory loss, or other illnesses. However, they receive help from caring actors, songwriters, dancers, storytellers, and so on. They are encouraged to be creative, and to have fun in the process.
According to the artists who visit the elders, things have improved, but there is a long road ahead. The most important thing is the fact that people are no longer passive; they are as active as they can be, and this helps them in numerous ways. The movement has been called creative aging, and it encourages the elders to become active. The movement became really popular in no time, and it has managed to gather lots of fans. Local and federal governments and various nonprofit organizations and foundations started to fund such arts programs.
These programs are very beneficial, as the majority of the older adults respond to social interaction and stimulation. The best way of being socially active is through drama, dance, and musical activities. They have very powerful results, and they are very cheap to organize.
Numerous scientific studies have been conducted and have revealed the fact that art can offer health benefits which no pill can. Late Gene Cohen, one of the most successful gerontologists discovered that when the elders interacted with various arts, they benefited both emotionally and physically. This interaction can reduce pain, can eliminate depression and loneliness, and it can help the old adults with mobility and cognition. On top of that, it makes them feel appreciated and valued.
The Effects of Art
Researchers from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, analyzed the effects of the Kairos Dance Theatre’s Dancing Heart program, which provides storytelling and creative dance to facilities such as nursing homes. The researchers reached to the conclusion that the majority of the residents of these nursing homes improved their memory, and increased their social interaction. Catherine Sullivan, and occupation therapist at St. Catherine stated that thanks to the program, people were able to focus to it, for an hour and a half, even though prior to that, they usually lost their focus in five minutes.
People were able to create music, to learn new songs to invent stories, and so on. There were people who had memory problems, and who, after the program was over were able to recognize other people. The elders really benefited from these programs, according to Catherine Sullivan.