From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Aging creatively

(Photo by Chalmers Butterfield)
Why just age when you can age creatively?  And why go it alone when the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) in Washington, D.C. is so willing to assist?

This organization, founded in 2001, is dedicated to building programs that strengthen the vital bond between creative expression and healthy aging.  The good news is that you don't have to be a Grandma Moses in order to benefit from creative expression.  NCCA has found that creative expression "is important for older people of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds,
regardless of economic status, age, or level of physical, emotional, or cognitive functioning."

Amanda Gardner of HealthDay reports on a 91-year-old woman with dementia-related short-term memory loss who astonished her
writing-workshop group "with her story about Homer the Artistic Turtle."  Although she had formerly been a good writer, people were surprised that the dementia had not robbed her of this skill.  Anne Basting, Director of the Center on Age and Community at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, explains:  People look at dementia as loss and deficit.  They never assume people with dementia can grow or learn anything [but] that's what we're witnessing:  growth and expression and skill-building.  Basting also specified that artistic expression can foster an improved sense of well-being and belonging.

The NCCA website features stories of elders who creatively contribute to the world at large.  One such elder, 96-year-old Helen Young, is the sister of Peace Pilgrim, the late activist who walked across the U. S. during the 1950s garnering support for world peace.  Young continues her sister's work by lecturing and
participating in peace walks and vigils.  She is also a devoted Yoga practitioner.


Copyright October 13, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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