184338 Arts and Aging in America: Putting Research into Practice

Monday, October 27, 2008: 3:30 PM

Gay Hanna, PhD MFA , National Center for Creative Aging, George Washington University, Washington, DC
Maria Genne, BSEd, MEd , Kairos Dance Theatre, Minneapolis, MN
A meta-analysis of current research in the field of humaninties, arts and aging related to public health focusing on the seminal work of Gene Cohen MD PhD et al, "The Impact of Professionally conducted Cultural Progams on Older Adults" with indicators for the successful development of community based programs for older adults. This presentation will include research tools key to producing evidence based arts programs aimed to improve quality of life for older adults.About the Cohen study, 300 particpants at three sites: 150 people in community arts program - 150 in control group matched in all major areas of functioning. The average age in both groups was 80 - based on establihsed gerontological research focused on sense of control and immune system; social functioning and blood pressure/stress levels; aging and how brain processes emotions, cohen found that by all measurements of physical health, mental health and social functioning, there was a stablization and actual improvement for those in the arts groups while the control group decline occured. This study found arts particpants used less medication; had fewer doctors visits; experienced elevated moods; showed increase in level of independence; exhibited increase in number of activities. "Dancing Heart-Vital Elders Moving in Community" an Archstone Foundation Award for Excellence in Program Innovation winner in 2007 will be one of the prime models to be explored in depth along with new visual arts research, "Above Ground: Special focus New York City Aging Artist, Joan Jeffri, PI, Research Center for Arts and Culture Teachers College Cloumbia University.

Learning Objectives:
1. Develop evidnece based arts programs for older adults 2. identify three key indicators of successful arts program development based on current research studies

Keywords: Change Concepts, Quality of Life

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: 20 years in the arts targeting special needs populations - people with disabilities, chronic illness and aging
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.