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January 12, 2017

The Benefits of Arts for Older Adults

Strap on your dancing shoes, pick up a guitar or grab a paintbrush. These activities—along with eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising daily and reducing your stress—can help you live a longer, healthier life.

New research has found that participating in arts activities benefits older adults. Researchers found:

  • Singing improves mental health and subjective well-being (for example, perceived quality of life)
  • Taking dance classes bolsters cognition and motor skills, and even reduces the likelihood of developing dementia later in life
  • Playing a musical instrument has myriad positive effects, including dementia risk reduction
  • Visual arts practice generates increases in social engagement, psychological health and self-esteem

So Many Benefits of Arts for Older Adults

Participating in activities like painting, dancing and singing can help improve mental health, flexibility and prevent social isolation. Here’s how:

Singing: After observing a group of adults aged 60 and over who participated in a weekly singing group, researchers discovered participants had decreased anxiety and depression compared with those who did not participate.

Dancing: Adults aged 60 and over who participated in a weekly dance class received a number of benefits, including improved cognition and attention, posture and balance and hand and motor skills.

Painting: Similar to those taking a singing class, adults over age 60 who participated in painting lessons were shown to have improved mental health and well-being.

How You Can Get Involved in the Arts

Dance Classes: Let the music move you, improve your balance and boost your mood at these Ohio dance classes for older adults:

Singing and Instrument Lessons: Whether you prefer to belt out or play a piece of music, make new connections and give your mental health a boost with these local singing and instrument lessons:

Painting and Visual Arts Classes: Unleash your creativity — and improve your well-being — with these Ohio painting and visual arts classes:

Whether you’ve always wanted to play the piano or have been painting for years as a hobby, becoming and staying involved in the arts is an enriching way to express yourself while benefiting your health.

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