Lesley University empowers students to become dynamic, thoughtful leaders in education, mental health counseling, and the arts. Located in the heart of Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to the world’s best-known universities, Lesley combines an intensely creative environment with the practical experience students need to succeed in their careers. Each year, 2,500 undergraduate and 5,300 graduate students pursue their degrees at Lesley. Along with our more than 86,000 alumni, they’re discovering the power of creativity to overcome obstacles, foster connections, and reveal fresh answers to the world’s problems. Highly evolved and uniquely conceptualized, our pace-setting Master's, Certificate, and Doctoral Programs in Expressive Therapies provide a meaningful connection between the arts, theory, and practice in clinical training. As one of the most recognized Expressive Therapies programs in the world, our students are expertly trained and qualified providers of mental health services.
Why Creative Aging? Susan Perlstein, founder of Elders Share the Arts, and the National Center of Creative Aging, recounts the shift in beliefs about aging and emergence of arts in health for older Americans, paving the way for the development of creative arts programs to promote the health and wellbeing of older adults. Creative Aging has captured the hearts of artists and older adults, and attention of policy makers and researchers.
When we talk about healthcare in the USA, we are often talking about treating illness and how much it costs. If we think about our health as a pyramid-shaped iceberg with good health being the wide base upon which growth and wellbeing are supported, and illness at the very top, we see that only the tip of the iceberg gets all the attention. What about that much larger mass of ice submerged under the surface of the water - the part of the iceberg that caused the Titanic to sink? The ideas of health promotion are beginning to address that largest part of the health pyramid. That large submerged part of the iceberg is where we have the greatest possibilities of keeping people healthy and living healthy as long as possible.
How can partnerships expand the possibilities for creative aging? Inspiring the next generation, artist and art professor Anne Mondro describes the course and collaborative art program she developed with her art students at the University of Michigan and older adults living in a nearby Ann Arbor community.
How can dance and movement re-ignite the soul of a person with dementia? It’s all in the movement. Through case vignettes and broad expertise, dance/movement therapist, Donna Newman-Bluestein, illustrates the power of non-verbal communication for people who have dementia through dance/movement therapy.
What does a creative aging program organization do? Arts for the Aging has delivered best practice creative arts programs to the greater Washington, DC area for more than two decades. A leader in the field, Executive Director Janine Tursini shares her perspective on the possibilities and challenges, and a glimpse of the rich programs AFTA offers.
What does creative aging look like? Music and movement brings people together. Musician and teaching artist, Anthony Hyatt, takes us into a day in the life of the Quicksilver dance company, a troupe comprised of older adults. Describing how he mirrors and responds to troupe members, deep and meaningful connections are revealed.
Freshly inspired from attending the annual National Center for Creative Aging Leadership Conference, I was asked to guest edit an issue of the international journal, Creativity and Human Development, with a focus on Creativity in the United States of America. It was without hesitation that I chose to highlight the incredible work in the field of Creative Aging in this issue.