Artistic Endeavors Improve Seniors’ Health

News Note

By Lara Evans Bracciante

Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, February/March 2005.

Elderly chorale members have significantly fewer falls, doctor visits, and take less medication than their peers who are not participating in any arts programs, according to an ongoing three-year study conducted by researchers at The George Washington University’s Center on Aging, Health, and Humanities. Furthermore, subjects answering their inner artist reported lower levels of depression, less loneliness, and higher morale, in addition to better health one year after joining.

Similar results are expected with any creative activity, from painting to poetry writing. Researchers believe these results are related to both a sense of personal mastery gained from performing or exhibiting and the interpersonal growth provided by the social aspect of such activities. This study corroborates earlier research, which also revealed an immunity boost from sustained involvement in gratifying activities.