In the Resources section you will find research, white papers, reports, archived webinars, toolkits and more focusing on creativity and aging. Click the drop down menu below to search the page according to resource type.

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. They were also able to access stored material quicker, measured by a computer latency task. 

TimeSlips is a ten-week storytelling intervention on dementia patients residing in long-term-care facilities. The TimeSlips program focuses on creative self-expression through group-generated stories for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The study showed that those in TimeSlips facilities were more engaged and alert, and interactions between staff and residents, social interactions and social engagement was more frequent in TS communities than in non-TS facilities. While job satisfaction was not affected, the staff did develop more positive views of people with dementia.

This study tested TimeSlips effects on communication, neuropsychiatric symptoms and the quality of life for long-term care residents with dementia. TimeSlips participants illustrated improved communication skills and a higher degree of pleasure than the control. The TimeSlips participants were active participants interacting during celebration and play.

Melissa Castora-Binkley and Linda Noelker, Katz Policy Institute, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging

Thomas Prohaksa, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago 

William Satariano, School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley 


This study evaluated whether the health benefits related to tango-dancing programs could also work with adults with Parkinson’s disease. This 13 week study assessed a control and intervention group in balance, falls and gait. Only those with Parkinson’s Disease improved in all three measures. This research suggests that tango is an effective intervention for mental function and balance improvement. The study allows for further research into the benefits that dance can have on the mobility of older adults.

This study used interactive storytelling as an intervention to improve blood-pressure among African Americans. All of the participants had hypertension and were studied for six months. The intervention group received DVDs containing patient stories while the other group received an attention-control DVD covering non-hypertension health topics. The storytelling intervention generated abundant improvements in blood pressure for baseline uncontrolled hypertension.

Reminiscence or life-review can aid when resolving past conflicts and balancing one’s life. It can be further enhanced by creative expression of memories through stories, poems or drawings. Participants were encouraged to create symbolic metaphors, images and stories that represent the subjective and inner meaning of life. This article describes a new intervention that combines life-review and creative expression aimed at treating early stages of depression. The study found that searching for the meaning in life may create small reductions in depression.

The Vital Visionaries program is meant to improve medical students’ attitudes towards older adult patients. The program brought older adults and medical students together to create and discuss art at art museums. The study showed that students participating in the Vital Visionary program had more positive attitudes towards older adults and felt the two groups had more in common. The Vital Visionary program illustrates that art can help foster positive attitudes and enhance community building. 

One hundred and twenty two older adults participated in a theatrical intervention twice a week for four weeks. The training included multi-modal or cognitive-affective-physiological activities. The theatrical group was compared with a no-treatment control and a singing intervention. Effectiveness was assessed through a battery of 11 cognitive/affective test measures including word recall, prose comprehension/recall, word generation, digit-span ability and problem-solving.  The study showed that the acting group improved significantly over both other comparison groups.

A study of 213 visual artists aged 62-97 was  published in December, 2007.  The study, conducted by Joan Jeffri and Douglas Heckathorn, found that  most of the artists  "demonstrated  personal growth, creativity, self-efficacy, autonomy, independence, effective coping strategies...and also maintained extensive social networks.”