The Benefits of Art
for Older New Yorkers
This month not only marks the start
of a new decade but also International
Creativity Month. For older adults,
the benefits of engaging in art are
essential to healthy aging. Through
free and stimulating programming,
the New York City Department for
the Aging (DFTA) strives to make art
accessible to older New Yorkers.
Art programs offered at hundreds
of senior centers throughout the
five boroughs include classes
on painting, pottery, poetry and
writing workshops, and more.
Many older New Yorkers find that
art becomes a celebrated passion in
their silver years.
Researchers from the National
Institute on Aging believe that flexing
the creative muscles as we age can
lead to overall improved health and
well-being. Through participating
in group art classes, senior center
members can avoid social isolation
and increase their quality-of-life.
SU-CASA is a community arts
engagement program that pairs artists
with senior centers and naturally
occurring retirement communities,
often called NORCS. Last year,
through a partnership with the New
York City Department of Cultural
Affairs, over 7,000 older adults
participated in SU-CASA programs
at 229 different locations. SU-CASA
artists are selected each year and
bring unique and individual artistic
expression to their programs.
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Art can also be essential to older
adults with Alzheimer’s disease or
other dementias. Through Social
Adult Day Services (SADS) that
serve functionally impaired older
adults, group art classes are often built
into programming, which engages
participants to help maintain and
enhance their socialization skills.
As we continue to explore the
connection between healthy
aging and art, we encourage older
New Yorkers to let their creative
juices flow, especially during
International Creativity Month.
There is no better place to celebrate
creativity than in New York City, a
mecca of art and culture.
To find free art classes offered at
your local senior center, visit our
website at www.nyc.gov/aging or call
311 and ask for “senior centers.”
is Commissioner of the New York
City Department for the Aging.
Prior to joining the de Blasio
administration, she served in
executive leadership roles with
AARP, EmblemHealth and
other organizations. She also
served as New York’s first Latina
Secretary of State.
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