ISSN 2050-5337 - ISSUE 5

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Wednesday, 21 June 2017 21:38

Opportunities of Creative Aging Programs: Can creative arts programs be cost-effective ways to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults in America? Featured

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Abstract

This article explores the connection between older adults’ involvement in arts programs and wellbeing in later life. Through participation in creative arts programs, older adults can be supported to live well longer by improving self-esteem and motivation, and reducing isolation that leads to depression and further health risks. This article considers a rationale for the implementation of creative arts therapy programs as a standard model to help promote health, wellbeing, and independent living, delaying significant contact with healthcare providers by identifying the connections between participation in a creative arts program and engagement, decrease of social isolation, and improvement of health and wellbeing.

Keywords: older adults, creative arts, wellbeing, creative aging, social isolation


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Dr Raquel Chapin Stephenson

Ph.D., ATR-BC, LCAT

Dr. Raquel Stephenson is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Lesley University’s Art Therapy Program, Core Faculty in the Ph.D. Expressive Therapies program, and Faculty Fellow in Lesley’s Institute for the Arts in Health. She was a 2010/2011 Fulbright Scholar to Estonia, where she taught in the Department of Applied Creativity at Tallinn University and continues to teach periodically as a visiting guest lecturer. She is adjunct faculty at New York University. Dr. Stephenson is a board certified, registered art therapist (ATR-BC) and a licensed creative arts therapist (LCAT).

Committed to improving the lives of older adults through the arts, Dr. Stephenson’s clinical work and research has focused on a wide spectrum of older populations. She was the founder, clinical supervisor and program director of New York University’s Creative Aging Therapeutic Services - a community-based program that provided art therapy to well older adults and those with dementia. She also worked on the geriatric psychiatry unit at St. Luke’s hospital in New York City, and with programs for individuals with HIV/AIDS. She presents her work on the intersection of arts and aging and consults with emerging clinical art therapy programs nationally and internationally. She designed and implemented the first creative arts therapy program for older adults with dementia in Estonia.

Dr. Stephenson serves on the National Advisory Council and Program Advisory Committee of Arts for the Aging in Rockville, MD, and the Advisory Council of the Art Therapy Outreach Center in New York City. She also serves on the Editorial Board of the international journal, Creativity and Human Development. Dr. Stephenson is involved with the American Art Therapy Association, having served on the Educational Program Review Board and Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education.

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