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Creative ageing: What do we need to consider?

As Seniors Week is celebrated in Queensland, Neal Price discusses the approach to Creative Ageing in Queensland and some of the projects occurring around the state.

Ageing comes with a range of changes to our emotional, social, and physical lives. Social isolation, depression, memory loss, mobility and financial status impact on decisions we need to make to maintain our mental and physical wellbeing. 

The baby boomer generation now reaching retirement will want and expect more services and activities than the previous ‘board games based’ generation. Current lifestyle programs offered by services will fall short of expectations from a demanding and vocal wave of new seniors. Boomers expect cafes, movies, theatre, sports, entertainment and creative pastimes.

Creative ageing strategies can meet the cultural and social expectations of a burgeoning aged community. There are economic benefits to keeping people mobile, healthy and living at home with community support. 

Creative Ageing takes its impetus from Community Cultural Development applying the principals of access, participation and collaboration to the resources and production of arts and cultural experiences. 

In addition to this, Creative Ageing practice seeks to: 

  • foster self expression of seniors
  • foster cross-generational activity 
  • foster Community Cultural Development 
  • foster links to community cultural activity. 

While the term ‘Creative Ageing’ has been used for a decade or so, it remains largely undefined, relying on individuals and innovative arts organisations to develop, describe and celebrate the practice. Examples abound in Queensland and the state contributes many excellent examples to the field of Creative Ageing:

For aged-care services it makes economic sense to attract clients to care facilities with comprehensive arts and cultural programs. By including the arts in therapeutic and self-expressive ways it provides a platform to stimulate institutional change and ensure community connectedness. The arts humanise environments and celebrate our achievements and the milestones of a life well lived. They can transform adversity and create meaning through experience and memory.  

The opportunities that Creative Ageing offers to the arts and cultural sector are numerous. Artist in residency programs, oral histories, writing, music, dance and theatre all have a role in creating the kind of aged care sector we will all want to experience. 

I look forward to seeing Creative Ageing practice flourish with the voice of older Australians shouting out their hopes, dreams and aspirations. 


Neil PriceNeil Price is the Director of the Creative Ageing Centre.






Feature image: Crossroad Arts Facilitator Wanda Bennett, young painter Mathew Deane and Brushman of the Bush John Pickup. Image courtesy Crossroad Arts.