Before they started the creative writing and storytelling classes at Villa Azusa, I had been depressed… I didn’t feel I even had a reason to get out of bed in the morning. With writing class, I have a purpose. I’m able to laugh more now, and I feel respected because not only does somebody think I have a brain, they make me use it.

Lucy, resident of Villa Azusa, an EngAGE: The Art of Active Aging community

WHY ARE THE ARTS GOOD FOR OLDER PEOPLE? 

Art is the transformation of the tangible (bodies, instruments, paper, ink, clay, fabric, etc.) and intangible (words, sounds, memories, emotions, ideas, etc.) into something new, such as sculpture, living history theater, musical performances, stories, paintings, dance, quilts, or poems. The process of creating, as well as the art that is created, transforms the participants and the people around them like other participants, family members, professional caregivers, and everyone who experiences the art.

With his 2006 landmark publication the “Creativity & Aging Study,” Gene D. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., demonstrated that participation in activities that foster creative engagement and skills mastery in a social environment has positive psychological, physical, and emotional health benefits for older adults.

Dr. Cohen and other researchers have shown that structured arts programs foster mastery and promote social engagement, which are two key ingredients for healthy aging.