The Benefits of Nurturing Your Creative Side as You Age
Aging well is the goal of every senior citizen. While physical activity and social interactions are important elements of staying healthy and mentally sharp in your golden years, developing your creative side can offer a wide host of benefits for your health, mental cognition and emotional well-being.
Even retirees who have never indulged in creative activities before can benefit; indeed, psychologists at the University of Toronto have found that changes to the brain that come with age can help boost creative faculties and the ability to innovate. With that in mind, here are some of the best reasons to take up painting, singing or writing in your retirement years.
Improved Cognitive Function
Creative activity has a profound effect on the cognitive abilities of senior citizens. Neurological research has demonstrated that engaging in the process of making art can produce new neural pathways as well as stronger dendrites in the brain, both of which contribute to a boost in cognitive function. Even viewing art alone can help the brain adapt and restructure, helping improve memory.
Reduced Anxiety, Depression and Loneliness
Creating art has the ability to boost the mood of seniors and alleviate the effects of depression, anxiety and boredom. Gene Cohen, the director of George Washington University’s Center on Aging, Health & Humanities, conducted an in-depth study on how involvement with the arts affects the quality of life as we age. Cohen found that participants who engaged in creative activities reported improved morale and an increase in positive outlook.
Increased Sense of Purpose
According to a study conducted by the Journal of Aging Studies, maintaining a sense of purpose is one of six key elements of aging well. This study also found that engaging in creative activities of all kinds, from knitting to writing, helped promote a feeling of purpose and personal fulfillment in seniors.
Decreased Need for Doctor Visits and Medication
Incredibly, participating in creative activities can reduce your need for both over-the-counter and prescription medication as well as lowering your number of doctor visits. According to the National Endowment for the Arts’ 2006 Creativity and Aging Study, those who participated in ongoing arts programs experienced an improvement in their overall physical health that led to decreased need for medical intervention as compared with those seniors who didn’t engage in creativity activity.
Boosted Immune System
For those of all ages, mental outlook can directly influence the functioning of one’s immune system. In his 2001 study, Dr. Gene Cohen of George Washington University found that creative seniors have a more positive view of life and a greater sense of well-being than their non-creative counterparts, which led directly to improved immune systems.
Better Sense of Balance
Another surprising side-effect of remaining creative in your golden years: a reduction in falls. The NEA’s 2006 Creativity and Aging Study also found that creative seniors reported fewer falls as they aged while non-creative retirees saw an increase in falls.
Greater Social Interactions
Because creative activities often happen in group settings, becoming involved in the arts in retirement can help increase the opportunity for social interactions. Given that a robust social life provides seniors with a range of mental and physical health benefits as well, this is a valuable byproduct of creative endeavors.
Enjoy a Healthy Lifestyle on Hilton Head Island
At the Cypress of Hilton Head, we seek to foster a fun, vibrant and creative community for our active retirees. Our luxury Life Plan Community offers a host of services, amenities and activities that promote a healthy and vigorous lifestyle for our members. To learn more about our facilities or to schedule a tour, please contact us today.