04/05/2021

How Community Arts can Help the Elderly

Is there a link between creativity and cognitive health in the elderly? And can community arts support the world’s ageing population?

The UK, like many countries in the world, has an ageing population. As life expectancy rises, we must find ways to support our elderly. Community arts is one of the ways to do this. In fact, there’s now evidence to suggest that arts is linked with the pathway to healthy ageing.

While doctors usually advise people to exercise, eat well and get enough sleep, creative therapies are often overlooked as a source of health and wellbeing.

The University of Bolton’s MA Applied and Community Arts course is suitable for anyone with a degree in theatre, performance, drama, dance or other creative subjects. If you want to change people’s lives through art, this programme could be for you.

Here are just some of the ways that community arts can help the elderly in your local community:

1. Creativity improves mood

Stimulating the right side of the brain not only puts a smile on people’s faces, but it can help to reduce anxiety, stress and depression. It’s a mood-booster, and for a lot of elderly people who live alone, it’s a great way to release tension and worry.

Additionally, activities such as drawing, painting, singing or dancing are extremely expressive. This provides a way for the elderly to process trauma or other experiences they find too difficult to talk about.

Picture78

2. A cure for loneliness

As well as being great for mood, community arts programmes bring people together from every corner of the community. It allows for people from all neighbourhoods and districts to meet and mingle, adding a fun, social element to the arts.

With an ageing population, it’s more important than ever to build those connections. According to Age UK, over 2 million people aged 75+ live alone in England, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to anyone!

Arts programmes in the local community are a wonderful cure for loneliness, giving older people something to look forward to every week, and a way to build meaningful friendships with others in their age group.

3. Improve fitness and balance

Another important benefit of community theatre, dance and performance art is being able to keep active. These are all low-impact activities that will be gentle on the joints and can be suitable for those with a range of physical ailments, injuries or disabilities.

Studies have shown that listening to music during physical exercise can improve balance in old people, which is vital for general health and also for preventing falls and trips. Falls are the number one reason older people are taken to the hospital, so working on muscle health and balance is key.

Picture49

4. Supports healthy brain function

In addition to physical improvements, community arts can also boost cognitive health in the ageing population. All kinds of art play a role in the brain, including sit-down activities such as painting, drawing, sculpting, crafts and sewing.

So it doesn’t matter if service users are not mobile enough for dance and performance. There are many ways you can use creative classes to support cognition. It can even help to maintain motor skills and speed up recovery from brain injury.

If you’re passionate about helping others and want to make a difference in the community, turning your creative degree into a community art master’s could be a great career move.

Find out more about applying for our MA Applied and Community Arts (with Specialism) programme in September 2021, and visit the course page for details.

Or if you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on +44 (0)1204 903 394 or admissions@bolton.ac.uk.

No courses found

myBolton

Download the app for your smartphone from:

Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

Bolton college
Alliance learning
Anderton centre2
Scheme Participant
RiSE pos rgb logo
TEF Silver QQA

Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

Bolton college
Alliance learning
Anderton centre2
Scheme Participant
RiSE pos rgb logo
TEF Silver QQA