The little intervention that could: creative aging implies healthy aging among Canadian seniors.

University of New Brunswick, Saint John, Canada.

Aging & mental health. 2024;(2):307-318
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OBJECTIVES Through a process of 'creative ageing', there is increased interest in how active participation in the arts can help promote health and well-being among seniors. However, few studies have quantitatively examined the benefits of a foray into artistic expression, and even fewer employ rigorous identification strategies. Addressing this knowledge gap, we use a series of quantitative techniques (ordinary least squares and quantile regression) to analyze the impact of an arts-based intervention targeting the elderly. METHODS Recruited from Saint John, New Brunswick (a city of about 125,000 people in Eastern Canada), 130 seniors were randomly assigned to the programme, with the remaining 122 serving as the control. This intervention consisted of weekly 2-h art sessions (i.e. drawing, painting, collage, clay-work, performance, sculpting, and mixed media), taking place from January 2020 until April 2021. RESULTS Relative to the control group, the intervention tended to reduce participant loneliness and depression, and improve their mental health. Outcomes were more evident toward the latter part of the programme, were increasing in attendance, and most efficacious among those with initially low levels of well-being. CONCLUSION These findings imply that creative ageing promotes healthy ageing, which is especially noteworthy given COVID-19 likely attenuated our results.

Methodological quality

Publication Type : Randomized Controlled Trial