The Arts and Aging Well: Professional Artists Working in Long Term Care

Sally Gradle


This research examines the instructional strategies of two professional artists, one a salsa instructor and the other a painter, who worked with seniors in long-term care facilities. There were two research goals. The first was to observe and document the common characteristics of good teaching that were evident as the two artists worked with older, disabled populations. The second aim was to examine what effect art courses had on the quality of life in long-term care when professional artists conducted the classes. The findings from this study suggest there is a complex dynamic between healthy aging, exposure to the arts, and personal relationships with experienced mentors. With the increased longevity that is expected in a growing population of seniors, more studies about the benefits of arts instruction in long-term care facilities are advised.


art, art education, instruction

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