What is the Role of the Arts in a Long-Term Care Facility?
Last year, the members of the Expressive Arts team with whom I work in a long-term care facility for older adults organized a fashion show in conjunction with the annual fall art show. Over the course of four months, we met weekly with interested residents who planned the show, chose clothing to model that best expressed their personalities, and practiced their moves down the runway.
The Expressive Arts team, including another art therapist, a dance/movement therapist, and a music therapist, collaborated with the residents to ensure the show met its intended purpose: to provide a moment for the participants to feel proud in front of family members, staff, and other residents while challenging conventional ideas of age and beauty.
As the participants practiced their moves down the runway for the first time, we watched each person’s transformation as he or she took the spotlight. Chins lifted, smiles spread wide, and arms floated through the air. One of the participants commented as she reached the end of the runway, “Bubbles! I feel bubbles inside!” We could all feel it.
The Rise of Arts & Aging
, Chicago Bridge members started a Creativity and Aging Special Interest Group
and Deborah DelSignore presented on the connection between creative arts therapies and the culture change movement
. Nationally, the success of programs like Meet Me
and films like I Remember Better When I Paint
have demonstrated the use of creative arts programming with older adults.
What Does It Look Like?
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? Let me know! I will be posting about expressive arts therapies throughout the year on the Chicago Bridge blog, following the lead of previous post topics such as dance/movement therapy
for people experiencing symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
Thank you to Elyse Baylis for editing this post, and thank you to Sarabbit
for allowing us to use her photo.