by Kim Johnson, Director of Arts Access, Tennessee Arts Commission
Participation in the arts can be a unique and effective pathway to help older adults stay active, healthy, and engaged in their communities and in activities that give meaning and quality of life beyond basic health and safety. Research indicates that the brain continues to develop in response to experiences and learning if it receives the proper stimulation and that arts participation in older adults can lead to better physical health; better mental and emotional health and increased social interaction; and enhanced cognitive function. In addition, seniors who stay healthy can continue to be valuable resources for their communities, offering wisdom, skill, and time, both paid and volunteer.
“The number of Tennessee seniors age 65 and over is expected to almost double from 850,000 in 2010 to 1.7 million in 2030,” according to an April 2017 comptroller’s report on senior long-term care. To meet the growing demand for services in senior adults, the Tennessee Arts Commission in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability introduced a new initiative called Creative Aging Tennessee.
Part of this initiative includes one-time seed funding for innovative projects through the arts that will promote healthy aging of seniors and encourage community partnerships that have the potential for sustainability. Successful projects will encourage senior creativity, physical activity, and/or community engagement through the arts. Outcomes can include using the arts for improved health and wellness; lifelong learning and engagement; increased positive attitudes/perceptions about aging; and connecting older adults to their communities. Nonprofit organizations legally chartered in Tennessee and entities of local government or regional government (development district, human resource agency, etc.) are eligible to apply. Applications in the Creative Aging grants category will be accepted through August 31, 2017.
For more information, visit tnartscommission.org/grants/arts-access/creative-aging-tn or contact Kim Johnson, Director of Arts Access, at firstname.lastname@example.org.