Traditionally, the gaze of geriatrics and gerontology has focused on the “problems” of aging “ rather than the “possibilities”. In contrast to this paradigm of decline and losses, we consider the potential for engagement in the arts to maximize well-being in later life by creating opportunities for growth and meaning. We begin by introducing the phenomenon of population aging—the “longevity revolution” that has heightened interest in “aging well”. Next we provide an overview of current research on creativity and aging which points to the positive impact of the humanities and arts on health and quality of life for older adults. Then, we briefly describe the Moon Day poetry series, a poetry community that has attracted the participation of many older poets. Finally we consider selected works that address an array of topics (e.g. love, physical changes, death and dying) that offer an intimate glimpse into the experience of aging and a personal perspective on an “old age that adds as it takes away” (Williams, 1935). We conclude by considering how our understanding of the meaning of aging is enriched by creative expression and conversely how engagement in the arts enriches the experience of aging.
|Keywords:||Creativity and Aging, Poetry about Aging, Positive Aging|
Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
Associate Professor Emerita, Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
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