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Living creatively adds real value to your life,
both in the moment and in the future

Jul 11th, 2017

Engaging with the arts provides physical, emotional, cognitive and social benefits throughout life, and the positive effects are particularly striking for seniors. There’s even a Creative Aging Awareness Week held across Canada every year. Several Points West Living communities took part this year, including Points West Living Red Deer, where residents chose to make decorative wreaths for each resident’s door to brighten the halls for spring and summer. 

"Life in your years and years on your life"

“Creative aging puts life in your years and years on your life!” exclaims Karen Boyer, Manager of Recreation & Community Development, Connecting Care and Points West Living. “Aging creatively means regularly including the arts in your life; with meaningful creative expression through visual, literary or performing arts.”

“Research studies have shown,” continues Karen, “that regular participation in arts activities can reduce loneliness, medication use and number of doctors’ visits. At the same time it increases activity levels, morale and self-reported physical health.”

Creative aging awareness challenge

Early this past spring, Karen challenged recreation coordinators across PWL to come up with projects to deliberately practise Creative Aging Awareness. She provided a poster (link here) by Arts Health Network Canada which describes how the concept of creative aging has redefined aging over the past forty years. Rather than embarking on a journey in the second half of life that is one of relentless decline, creatively challenging ourselves keeps seniors’ brains (and the other things that make us who we are) adapting and making connections.

Red Deer wreaths

The PWL Red Deer creative aging awareness wreath project involved a vibrant mix of community members. “A great team developed including independent residents, memory care residents, employee care partners and family members,” says PWL Red Deer recreation coordinator, Kendra Joyes. “Residents chose their colours, and a weekly time was set to gather and create together. The work was done in various locations throughout the community.”

At the end of several weeks, the wreaths were ready, and each resident had the option of hanging one of the creations on their door. “Lots of residents commented on how colorful the wreaths make the hallways,” says Kendra. “One family member came to us and thanked us for making sure her mom got one, because she wasn’t able to make one herself.”

Creative Aging Awareness Week was held May 22nd to 26th 2017, and PWL Peace River, Grande Prairie, Lloydminster and Red Deer each created a project.

Photo: PWL Red Deer resident Eileen Watson is ready to hang her creation

More photos at Flickr: Living creatively adds rea; value to your life, both in the moment and in the future

More information on creative aging is available at:
Creative Aging Network Canada 
Arts Health Network Canada
Creative Age Edmonton
Creative Aging Calgary Society

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