For me, one of the really big takeaways from the Positive Aging Conference was a presentation from Dr. Michael Patterson, Founder of mindRAMP and Associates and board member of the National Center for Creative Aging. He spoke on 'Why Creativity Matters' using research data from a major study of the long-term effects of creativity on health and wellness in a senior population.
They found that as a result of regular creative activities (playing music, dance, visual arts, writing, painting etc) people used less medications, had fewer doctor visits, were more independent, less depressed and happier. Dr. Patterson then mentioned that if every nursing home were to hire just one artist-in-residence to coordinate creative activities for the residents it would save twenty times more in health care expenses than such a program would cost.
Although this "good news" is slow in getting spread there were many presenters who offered a variety of ideas on innovative creative activities. Here is an overview of other presenters and topics in from the Creativity track:
Lifelong Dancing: Rusti Brabdman, PhD, Shands Arts in Medicine
Creating personal "elder tales": Jacquelyn Browne, PhD, Nova Southeastern University
The Quicksilver Model: Arts for the Aging: Anthony Hyatt, Arts for the Aging
My last post on the conference will be about the Wellness track speakers.