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Creativity as We Age
There are many organisations in Scotland which promote the creative arts for older people. There is a month long festival each October, organised by the voluntary organisation Luminate. which celebrates creativity in later life.
Other organisations include:
- Creative Scotland
- National Centre for Creative Ageing
- Campaign to End Loneliness
- Age of Creativity - a UK wide site for professionals and organisations working in the field of arts and older people
- Playlist for Life - promotes personally meaningful music on an iPod for people with dementia)
- "You said you like the dancing" - an on-going series of works created by dance artist Janice Parker in collaboration with Town Break Day Club, for people living with dementia, in Stirling
Help to begin
A resource pack has recently been made available by a partnership between the Care Inspectorate, Luminate and Creative Scotland. The pack includes a rich list of resources to various services and resources to foster art activities.
Art opportunities and outlets are only limited by our imagination: dancing, singing, gardening, poetry, pottery, cooking, writing, making chocolate... Many of these are easily available to older people, or can be tailored to their wishes and ability.
There can be remarkable outcomes of this sort of work. In a service I worked in a resident was delighted to receive piano lessons, and to play to an acceptable standard. This had been the person's ambition for some years. Another care home was able to overcome pseudo-objections about insurance and health and safety to enable people to engage in creative cookery. People were delighted to be able to exercise their long standing skills. It made me think of the loss experience when people's activities are restricted, albeit well intentioned, just because they are cared for.
In other services, the work of people using the service was hung and displayed throughout the building, and was a source of pride to everyone. The effect was very impressive, it lent a personalisation and ownership, as well as a different image of people living and working there.
Community involvement and social history are among other directions which creativity as we age can pursue. They are both therapeutic and socially useful. Older people can see that they make a useful and meaningful contribution to society, and their self-esteem is raised as their achievements are recognised by themselves and others.
The benefits of doing art are clear, so I think it should be a vital element in all kinds of care, dementia, home care and care homes. Excuse me now, I have painting I need to work on...
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