Widening Participation in Creative Activities for Older Adults
A Report on a Symposium Held in Australia
Keywords:creative ageing; ageing research; co-creation; sustainability
Globally our society is shifting to an older demographic and our lifespan increasing. It is therefore critical that we find and promote solutions to ageing well. There is emerging evidence that engagement in creative activities benefits psychosocial wellbeing and supports cognitive health. However, there are aspects of creative ageing research and implementation that need further development and solution-based thinking. These can be summarized as, (1) providing strong evidence for the benefits of engaging in creative activities; (2) overcoming barriers for participants and researchers; and (3) making engagement in creative activities sustainable. To address these areas, we held a symposium in 2022 and invited stakeholders, including older-adult participants, researchers, practitioners, and aged-care professionals. Symposium participants were allocated into three groups, each with representation from different stakeholders. The groups discussed one of the above areas and then shared ideas with the symposium group. An expert panel led further discussions and sought suggestions for solutions. Key suggestions included involving older adults in research design and planning from the beginning of the process; solutions for accessibility and sense of safety including having “try out” sessions and buddying participants; and creating partnerships with community organizations to promote sustainability. This report summarizes our discussions and advocates for more forums to move the debate forward.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Helen J. English, Michelle Kelly, Genevieve A. Dingle, Frini Karayanidis, Jane W. Davidson
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