Visiting Angels - March 2020

March 2020

5274 Scotts Valley Dr., #102 Scotts Valley, CA 95066 831-430-0616 www.VisitingAngels.com/CentralCoast 229 Reindollar Ave., Suite E Marina, CA 93933 831-392-0876

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Art and Soul

The Untapped Creativity of Seniors

M any years ago, I visited one of our seniors, and I was greeted by a house full of stained glass. These were gorgeous pieces scattered all throughout her home. There were so many of them, and they were all so lovely that you would have thought this woman had been creating stained glass for decades. In reality, she hadn’t tried making stained glass until she was already in her 80s. She’d never been an artist before, but one day, she took a class on how to make stained glass. That led to another class, and another, until she was making stained glass all the time. She had so many she didn’t know what to do with them all! But you could see how much she loved making them. After a lifetime, this woman had found her creative spark, and she didn’t want to waste a second. In my experience, this isn’t an unusual story. I’ve met many seniors who have found their creative side later in life. Some of these men and women never considered themselves to be artistic until they decided to take up painting, sculpting, or singing, and they discovered how much they loved it. I’ve also met seniors who were artists all their life but didn’t tap into their full potential until they were much older. There’s a lot of research that shows how engaging in the arts helps seniors’ mental and physical health. For example, research from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., found that art therapy can help improve cognition, increase self-esteem, and reduce depression and anxiety in older adults, including those with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. These are all wonderful things, but what’s interesting

is that seniors who embrace their creativity rarely do so for

the health benefits. They do so because they have free time, they no longer feel inhibited by past insecurities, or they just want to.

I’m not sure what inspires seniors to embrace their creativity, but I’m so glad to see it. Often, once someone turns 60, they start to believe they’re “too old” to try new things. They think they’re too old to learn about technology, pick up painting again, or join a theater group. Nothing could be further from the truth! Learning and creativity have no age limit, and that’s something our Visiting Angels strive to help our seniors realize. Maybe a senior wants to start painting again, but they need someone to drive them to the art supply store. Our Angels can help with that. Or maybe a senior is interested in taking a dance class, but they don’t know where to find one. Our Angels can help look up fun local classes, too. Wherever your creatively lies, our Visiting Angels want to help encourage it — it just might lead to a house full of beautiful stained glass.

Cindy Saunders, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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