Seniors Fight Loneliness with Creativity

See how creative pursuits such as painting, working with clay or poetry are helping seniors connect with others and helping them stay engaged and happy.


Creativity and Aging

Lisa Swanson: We should actually engage in creativity our whole lives, because it's good for our health.

My name is Lisa Swanson, and I'm an art teacher, ceramic artist, and I have a degree in arts and medicine.

I’ve been teaching art classes to seniors about 15 years.

A lot of people, they live in the same facility, they don't actually know each other’s names. They can come to my class and they’re actually engaged in the social aspect of it all.

I like being with people, I like socializing. I just like going there and having something to do every day and talking with the girls, we all gossip and get along.

They end up going and doing other things together and become really close. It just makes them feel more confident, and the more that they enjoy socializing and their overall well-being, then they want to, you know, be more active.

In 2006 the NEA did a study, it was called Creativity and Aging, and they found that the group that had the weekly creative participatory art programming, that they actually had less doctor visits.

They didn't need to take medication as much because it relaxed them, it lowered their blood pressure, those sort of things.

They just really enjoy themselves. It becomes … it's very purposeful for them, it brings meaning to their lives.

When you get to let your creativity come out and flow, it’s like you feel more alive. I always end up with… I'm so excited for the class because I know I'm going to feel really good.

I love art. I love being able to do something that will bring joy or pleasure to someone else.

By the time the class is over sometimes they look actually physically different, their healthy looking.

It thrills me every time. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, who it is. To be able to help somebody through art and creativity.