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Aging Well: Expanding horizons by exploring creativity

Caroline Edasis (left) and Marcy Maler guide Mather residents in Aging Well through vibrant and colorful creative arts programming.

This biweekly column is sponsored by The Mather in Tysons, Virginia, a forward-thinking Life Plan Community for those 62 and better.

By Caroline Edasis, Director of Community Engagement, Mather

Research has shown that older adults who engage with the arts in a group setting — anything from dancing to a poetry group to singing in a choir — enjoy tangible benefits in multiple areas of health. This has to do with feelings of mastery, and with social connection.

What makes the journey of a lifetime so rewarding is the excitement of new possibilities — lifelong opportunities to learn more, do more, see more, experience more and feel more connected to the world around us.

With this in mind, creative arts can be an opportunity for older adults to master new forms of self-expression.

Open Studio, Open Mind

Arts engagement can be a vehicle for wellness, not just recreation. Both lifelong and new artists can explore their own Creative Age by working in diverse media including ceramics and mixed media/painting. A new love for a specific media, or a personal project can be pursued while learning more about yourself and others.

A Fresh Look at Art Appreciation

Teaching or encouraging art appreciation, can be done through lectures from an expert such as a docent. Inquiry-based art-viewing techniques — used in art appreciation — focus on the interests, experiences, and the curiosity of viewers to deliver intellectually stimulating content while challenging us to bring culture down from the pedestal and into our lives.

Did you know that the average person spends 17 seconds looking at a work of art in a museum? Within visual literacy programs, an hour can be spent describing an image, sharing stories conjured by the work of art, or even creating group poems in response to the work.

Creativity is about much more than visual art. Aging should be recognized as a time of great creative potential, whether through music, poetry, storytelling, dance and movement, or even gardening — the sky is truly the limit.

The Mather, projected to open in Tysons, VA, in 2024 for those 62 and better, is a forward-thinking Life Plan Community that defies expectations of what senior living is supposed to be.

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Submit your own Community Post here.

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