Getting Crafty to Inspire Healthy Aging in SD
Friday, December 2, 2022
Winter is here, leaving many older South Dakotans vulnerable to social isolation. But a growing body of research, as well as opportunities, shows these individuals can improve their quality of life through creativity.
A study published shortly before the pandemic found that participating in community choirs can be a solution for reducing loneliness and increasing interest in life among older adults. And senior advocates have said it can go beyond music, with simple arts and crafts projects serving as creative outlets.
Lindsey Holmquest, associate state director for community outreach at AARP South Dakota, said they all tie together to reflect how beneficial these hobbies can be.
"Studies suggest that participating in art programs can improve physical and mental health by engaging the creative part of your brain," she said, "and that reduces stress, it improves resilience."
She stressed that it doesn't have to be something that requires a lot of talent, time or money. AARP tries to foster that approach through its "Art Together" sessions, with a statewide virtual event scheduled for Dec. 12. The registration deadline is midnight this coming Monday. Participants are asked to pay $10, and the materials will be mailed to them.
Outside of a specific program, Holmquest said the simple approach to arts and crafts can come in multiple forms.
"Finding some coloring books, or some watercolor paints, [it] makes you think in a different way, makes you see in a different perspective," she said.
And if you participate in an organized group or event, Holmquest said not only does it help to reduce loneliness, but can also make it easier to try something new when engaging with others, either virtually or in person. AARP South Dakota's sessions include guidance from local artists.
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