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Fourth Annual Arts and Aging Day Canada spotlights the benefits of arts for older adults

Sep 21, 2023
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Join Sheridan’s Centre for Elder Research (CER) and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) on September 24, 2023 to celebrate Arts and Aging Day Canada, a day dedicated to understanding the benefits of arts-based activities in older adults.

From choirs to poetry, visual arts to dance, Arts and Aging Day Canada highlights the ways arts and creativity are engaging and supporting Canadian older adults and those who care for them, both in-person and virtually. This day is a great opportunity to learn from colleagues across the country and find new ideas to bring back to your workplace. We invite you to share your own home, community organization, and/or workplace’s arts activities, creations and experiences through social media. 

Participating in arts-based activities has been shown to help older adults in many different domains of well-being—physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. You don’t have to be actively participating to see these benefits. You can simply observe—like attending a ballet performance or listening to your favourite album.Caption reads Arts & Aging Day Canada - September 24, 2023Getting involved is easy:

Step 1: Take a photo, write a blog post, or make a video of an arts-based activity or creation. Need some inspiration? Visit the Arts and Aging Day Canada website for some ideas. 
Step 2: Write a social media post and add the hashtag #ArtsAndAgingCA to promote the benefits of arts and creativity.
Step 3: Share the social media post on September 24.
Step 4: Follow the hashtag #ArtsAndAgingCA and get inspired by the incredible work happening across Canada that brings the arts to older adults.

Led by Dr. Kate Dupuis, Schlegel Innovation Leader in Arts and Aging at CER and the RIA, and a professor in the Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies at Sheridan, Arts and Aging Day Canada is an opportunity to spotlight the positive effects and importance of incorporating art-based activities for older adults in homecare, retirement communities, senior centres, long-term care homes, and community organizations across the country. Dr. Dupuis’ research explores the creative and performing arts in relation to older adults and how participation in the arts can serve to enhance the health and well-being of older adults and those who care for them. 

“Arts-based activities are an incredible way to help support our health and well-being as we age,” said Dr. Dupuis. “At CER and the RIA, we believe in the benefits that engaging with the arts brings to older adults and their care partners. Arts and Aging Day Canada is the only national event of its kind, and we look forward to continuing our engagement with partners from coast to coast as we continue to highlight the unique benefits of arts, creativity, and self-expression across the lifespan.” 

Arts and Aging Research

As national leaders in the field of arts and aging research and programming, Dr. Dupuis, CER, and the RIA are focused on ensuring that art-based activities are an integral part of the daily lives of older adults, particularly those in congregate settings or living alone. Over the last year, Dr. Dupuis, CER and the RIA have undertaken innovative research in the area of arts and aging in older adults. A few examples are highlighted below:

Intergenerational Jamboree
The Jamboree is an intergenerational music therapy program in which young children and their accompanying adults (e.g., parent, grandparent, guardian) take part in weekly music therapy sessions along with residents living in retirement or long-term care. During each session, a certified music therapist leads the group in singing songs, moving to music, using instruments and props (e.g., drums, scarves, bubbles) and gently facilitates interaction between participants. 

Supported by a three-year NSERC College and Community Social Innovation Fund grant, this project addresses care partner moral injury and burnout by encouraging long-term care staff to use the arts and self-expression in their recovery process. Through this work, Dr. Dupuis aims to help long-term care staff connect with their residents on a deeper, more personal level, supporting a more holistic model of care in the long-term care space. 

Virtual Music Therapy Visits
This program assists residents living in long-term care to connect virtually with friends and family members through the power of music and song, facilitated by a certified music therapist. Although this program was developed during the pandemic when social interaction and recreation opportunities were limited, it can be used at any time to easily and safely connect with family members and friends.

About Sheridan’s Centre for Elder Research
Sheridan is known as a global leader in creativity, innovation and research excellence, with the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research (CER) unique in its role as the sole Canadian college research centre focusing on older adults. CER conducts leading-edge research in the field of aging by examining innovative ways to enhance the well-being of older adults and the people and environments that support them. Learn more at elderresearch.sheridancollege.ca.

About the RIA
The Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) is a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and care of older adults. The RIA tackles some of the biggest issues facing an aging population by integrating research, education and practice. The RIA develops solutions that make a difference to benefit older adults everywhere. Learn more at www.the-ria.ca.

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