APR 20, 2015 08:57 AM PDT

Using art to cure old age ills

A trip to the GP could see you walk out with any number of things; a bill of clean health, a specialist appointment or a prescription. But a referral to go and discover your inner Picasso?

A UNSW program about to get underway, Arts on Prescription, will see GPs prescribe art for vulnerable older people to improve their health and wellbeing.
Led by the UNSW faculties of Medicine and Art & Design, the South Western Sydney Primary Health Network and charity HammondCare, the initiative has received $800,000 in grants from the Federal Department of Social Service.

Older people who are bereaved, frail, socially isolated, battling chronic disease or who have mental health problems or early dementia will be mentored by artists over eight weeks as they explore artistic endeavours in small groups.

Senior rehabilitation physician and UNSW Associate Professor Christopher Poulos, who is heading up Arts on Prescription, says the program will span a range of artistic forms from the visual arts and dance through to music and storytelling.

"If an older patient is visually impaired their GP might refer them to a storytelling program, if they are frail it might be drama, or if they have early dementia it could be the visual arts," Associate Professor Poulos says.

"The evidence from the United Kingdom shows these types of program can reduce a person's reliance on medication and health services."
The initiative also aims to challenge some of the negative stereotypes associated with ageing and demonstrate how older people can use their own creativity to improve their health and self-esteem.

UNSW digital artist Dr George Khut says while art therapy isn't new, the program is innovative because it explores ways to match the kind of art activity prescribed with the needs and wishes of the participant.

"The idea that art can play a more active role in our health and wellbeing, beyond what we experience in museums and galleries, is something that many of us at UNSW Art & Design are exploring in our research," Dr Khut said.

"This project exemplifies this interdisciplinary approach, in this case through our collaboration with health researchers, to investigate the effects of art-making on the wellbeing of the elderly."

The program will be delivered across two of HammondCare's community aged care sites in Sydney and will run until the end of 2016.

(Source: healthcanal.com)
About the Author
You May Also Like
SEP 10, 2018
Neuroscience
SEP 10, 2018
Can Scientists Mimic The Effect of Exercise to Improve Memory?
Dementia is a growing problem for healthcare providers, patients, and families. The WHO estimates that globally more than 47 million people are living with...
SEP 12, 2018
Videos
SEP 12, 2018
Are Sound Waves Being Weaponized?
There have been a lot of headlines recently about strange brain injuries to staff at US Embassies in Cuba and China. Several staff diplomats in the two cou...
SEP 19, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 19, 2018
Here's How to Tell if Your Dog Actually Likes You
Good dog owners love their pet unconditionally, but how can you be sure that your dog loves you back? For some, the answer is obvious; but for those curiou...
OCT 21, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
OCT 21, 2018
The Nervous System Directly Controls Stem Cell Growth
Our body relies on adult stem cells throughout our lives; we need them to continuously generate new cells as they wear out, like on the skin and in our blood....
NOV 07, 2018
Immunology
NOV 07, 2018
Is Your Brain Asking for High Blood Pressure?
Study finds that the brain is sending signals to the bone marrow to increase blood pressure....
NOV 13, 2018
Drug Discovery
NOV 13, 2018
Clinical Trial Drug For a Rare Neurodegenrative Disease Proven Unsuccessful
Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) is a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disease. Symptoms of the condition include loss of balance, difficulty swallowing, seizures...
Loading Comments...