“Making the Ordinary More Extraordinary”: Exploring Creativity as a Health Promotion Practice Among Older Adults in a Community-Based Professionally Taught Arts Program

Adelita G. Cantu, K. Jill Fleuriet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Document psychosocial and mental well-being outcomes across artistic mediums and classes of a community-based, professionally taught arts program for older adults. Method: One hundred and thirty-eight students completed pre and post class surveys about expectations/experiences when creating art in four mediums (painting, drawing, mixed media, creative writing). In addition, 162 students composed one-paragraph biographical narratives describing their relationships to art and creative engagement. Text was coded for a priori and emergent themes to identify and explain well-being outcomes. Findings: Results of this new study supported and expanded our earlier model of improved psychosocial and mental well-being due to creative engagement: impact of class-cognitive focus and outcome of class-cognitive focus, happiness as component of mental and social well-being due to creative engagement, and robust sense of calmness during the creative process. Conclusion: Results suggest that professionally taught arts programming can contribute to well-being and may contribute to brain health through promoting an enhanced ability to focus. Holistic nursing treats creativity as healing, and results suggest that creative engagement should be a priority in therapeutic programming, and individual counseling for older adults to begin engaging in some form of art making suited to their abilities should be incorporated into nursing practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-133
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Holistic Nursing
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

Keywords

  • art therapy
  • health promotion/disease prevention
  • older adults
  • psychosocial/mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (miscellaneous)

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