Health & Wellness

Health and wellness can be achieved in many ways, including using creativity to work the mind and body. Research has shown that mental activity stimulated by arts activities can be especially beneficial to people with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Cases of cognitive disabilities increase with age, so as the population lives longer more people will be diagnosed. By bringing arts programs to people with cognitive disabilities, you can create more opportunities for people with cognitive loss and their caregivers. In this section you'll find information about Health and Wellness programming, research, events, news and more.

This study evaluated the cognitive improvements associated with theatrical intervention in residents of a continuing care facility. Eighteen residents, ages 72-95, completed a theater arts course created to improve memory and promote healthy cognitive aging.

This study investigated the benefits that short-term theater can have on older adults’ cognitive functioning and psychological well-being. The participants, ages 60-86, engaged in one of three study conditions, theater arts, visual arts or no treatment.

Older adults, ages 62-85, participated in professional acting classes followed by rehearsals and performances for four weeks. The participants showed improvement in their mental/emotional states and had higher recall and recognition scores.

This pilot program evaluated the impact that jazz dance class instruction had on balance, cognition, and mood (specifically depression) in thirteen healthy, English-speaking older women.

This study evaluates the transfer from the domain-specific, sensorimotor training to cognitive abilities that are affiliated with executive function. Piano instruction was used as a cognitive intervention to abate normal age-related decline in older adults.

This study observed the well-being of 12 individuals while engaging in Memories in the Making, an art program designed for people in early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s. Memories in the Making encourages self-expression through visual arts.

This 17-session drama workshop explored the benefits of creative drama as an art form for older adults. Participants’ verbal samples were content-analyzed to examine the changes in four psychological states: anxiety, hostility, hope and human relations.

The music therapy program at Brooking Parks engages seniors with classic songs and enhances health outcomes of residents.

Brian Parker took his past experiences with his grandpa’s Alzheimer’s to bring music therapy to those currently dealing with the disease.

Tai Chi can benefit people with chronic health problems including Parkinson’s, depression, and reduces pain for those with arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Artist William Utermohlen painted through his decline into Alzheimer’s giving a fascinating insight into the mind of an Alzheimer’s patient.

Four activities can effectively reach Alzheimer’s patients at any stage: visits by a child, visits from a pet, listening to or playing music and observing or creating artwork.

100-year-old Kathleen “Kit” Connell is an enthusiastic and avid spokesperson for Nintendo.

Long term exercise and mental activity may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, shows two studies.  One study illustrated how exercise causes the brain to break down amyloid proteins that are linked to Alzheimer’s. 

Don Jones, an art therapist, had a serious stroke which took his strength, hand-eye coordination and will to create. His wife Karen urged him to start painting, a job he has been practicing for years. Jones cofounded the American Art Therapy Association and Buckeye Art Therapy Association.

Music Therapy captured Americans’ attention because of its role in Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ recovery from brain injury. The field, which has been around for at least a century, allows the brain to respond by creating new pathways around the damaged areas.

Laughter may be the medicine to keep dementia away for older adults. Humor Therapy can help manage the agitation experienced by those with dementia. It can improve communication and trigger memories. Humor Therapy has been taken up by the Redhead’s Whiddon Group who named their program Play Up.

High caloric intake is linked with mild cognitive impairment for those over 70. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the stage between normal memory loss and early Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that the odds of having MCI doubled for those who consumed the most calories.

102 year old Saul Belson is living well with few health problems and is enjoying life as a centenarian. Belson not only keeps a positive attitude but became an artist, continues to dance and taught himself to play the violin.

Music reduces anxiety and stress for patients awake under local anesthetic during surgery. The study conducted by John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford played music for half of the patients while the other half underwent surgery with normal hushed conditions.