Fielding Graduate University News

Creativity: An Important Paradigm for Aging

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Fri, Dec 14, 2012

 MG 6640 resized 600Creativity in the lives of aging adults emphasizes their potentials rather than their challenges.

The National Center for Creative Aging explains: “Health and wellness can be achieved in many ways, including using creativity to work the mind and body. Research has shown that mental activity stimulated by arts activities can be especially beneficial to people with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Cases of cognitive disabilities increase with age, so as the population lives longer more people will be diagnosed. By bringing arts programs to people with cognitive disabilities, you can create more opportunities for people with cognitive loss and their caregivers.” (accessed December 14, 2012) 

Encouraging creativity in the lives of older adults strengthens morale, enhances physicaldescribe the image health, and enriches relationships.

Historically, older adults have functioned as the keepers of culture in society, and are responsible for passing on the history and values of a community to the next generation. Creativity in later life wraps this gift to children, grandchildren, and society in the form of beautiful artwork. The Sixth Annual International Conference on Positive Aging, hosted by Fielding Graduate University, is a highly interactive gathering of diverse leaders and community members interested in shaping a dynamic future for older adults throughout the world. The conference features the following workshops and presentations focused on creativity and aging: 

  • Say ‘Yes’ to Tango: A Conversation about Creative Aging by Lola Fraknoi

  • Save My Place: A Performance Piece on Dying by Dori Gillam

  • Nimble Minds, Nimble Bodies: Exploring How the Creative Arts Contribute to Lifelong Human Development, Health, and Quality of Life by Michael Patterson

  • The Art of Aging by Richard and Alice Matzkin

  • Visionaries Have Wrinkles: Serving the Generation Who Will Change the World by Karen Sands

  • The Courage to be Brilliant: How to Aging with Courage, Wisdom and Grace by Marta Monahan

 The Sixth Annual International Conference on Positive Aging features a keynote address by Wendy Lustbader, MSW, who will speak about “The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Older"—the title of her latest book. She has also written and spoken about kindness and how to nurture a basic positive attitude towards whatever life brings as we get older.  Featured speaker Dr. Brian de Vries is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, a member of the leadership council for the American Society on Aging, and co-chair of the Lesbian and Gay Aging Issues Network constituency group. Dr. de Vries will speak about his extensive work on aging experiences, including bereavement among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender adults. Further highlighted speakers include one of the reigning pioneers of gerontology, James Birren, who will receive Fielding Graduate University’s Creative Longevity and Wisdom Award along with well-known spiritual leader Ram Dass, who will relay his experience in spiritual methods and practices via webinar.

There is still time to register at the early bird price! To learn more and to register, please visit 

The International Conference on Positive Aging aims to provide practitioners and policymakers with knowledge and tools to improve their support of older persons and increase the quality of life for all.

For more information:

Click here for the website: Sixth Annual International Conference on Positive Aging
Facebook - Keep up with the latest information about the conference, and access to a network of individuals who are interested and involved in the topic of positive aging
Click here for Facebook: The Fielding Positive Aging Conference
YouTube – View videos of speakers from previous conferences
Click here for YouTube:Channel for Positive Aging

**Photo by Peter Whitehouse

Tags: creativity, conference, aging