As I leaned down to release the brake on Pat’s wheelchair, I realized my “bunch of purple grapes” costume might not have been the most practical choice for the Halloween party at the retirement community. I’d pinned twenty balloons to my clothing, making navigation difficult. Still, the crowd clapped and cheered as the Brain Fitness Coordinator in costume as […]
An Opening Ritual I sat with the participants of the art therapy group in the Memory Support section of the retirement community. Each person held a puppet created during past sessions. Ellie* turned to David, and made a sound and gesture using her puppet. David then repeated the sound and gesture he heard to Mollie […]
Art Corner I tap Harriet* on her shoulder until she raises her eyes to meet mine.“How are you?” I say loud enough for her to hear.“Half left, half right, otherwise fine,” she says.“Would you like to come to art?” “Yes!” This is our weekly ritual before the open art therapy group I facilitate on her floor of a […]
I walked down a light-filled hallway past several works of art hung with black ribbon in the windows. Our first performance of a Broadway Revue was over, and now the remaining crowd was touring the long-term care community, looking at art made by the people who live there. Two women in their mid-nineties sat in […]
Five people sit around a table, writing. One man’s pen moves slowly, precisely translating ideas into line. One woman’s hand moves in a blur, trying to keep up with her thoughts. A third person, who has a visual impairment, speaks while I transcribe his words. When we finish writing, we take turns reading aloud. Each person’s face brightens as we hear one another’s words. The wisdom in the room surprises us.
Who are the professionals using the arts in their work with older adults? What is the difference between expressive arts therapies, arts education, and other types of arts programming? Are you a professional who uses the arts in your practice? Do you know someone whose life has been changed through art? What questions do you have about expressive arts’ connection to aging?