Using arts to improve the quality of life of older adults

The University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community (CAC) has received a $600,000 contract from the Indiana State Department of Health to design, implement, and coordinate a project that will improve the quality of life of older adults living in long-term care facilities through the use of the arts.

The Expressive Arts in Long Term Care project will educate long term care professionals in best practices for using visual art, dance, drama, music, writing/memoir in individual and group settings for residents living in long-term care facilities.

“We have assembled an outstanding team of faculty for this project,” said CAC Senior Projects Director Ellen Burton, MPH. “The arts are a key way to enhance the quality of life for older adults, especially those living in nursing facilities. By focusing on the wide spectrum of the expressive arts, we can help Indiana’s long-term care facilities offer meaningful experiences to their residents.”

CAC will host a total of six training workshops around the state, each four days in length. Faculty for the Expressive Arts in Long-Term Care project include:

  • Visual Art: Sarah Tirey, BFA, Associate Adjunct Faculty of Art & Design, University of Indianapolis
  • Dance: Heidi Fledderjohn, MA, BC-DMT, RYT, Dance/Movement Therapist, Facilitator and Teacher, Know Wonder, St. Vincent Health, Still Waters Adult Day Center
  • Drama: Sally Bailey, MFA, MSW, RDT/BCT, Professor of Theater and Gerontology and Director of the Drama Therapy, Kansas State University
  • Music: Rebecca Sorley, DA, Professor of Music, Director of Student Support, and Coordinator of the Music Business Concentration, University of Indianapolis
  • Writing and Memoir: Katharine Houpt, MAAT, ATR, LCPC, director of an expressive arts therapy program at a nursing facility in Illinois

The first workshop is scheduled to take place in Indianapolis November 14-16 and November 29, 2016. The cost is $100 for the four days. Long-term care professionals interested in registering may do so here.

Five additional workshops will be scheduled and held throughout the state. Each workshop is limited to 50 participants. There will also be two “train-the-trainer” workshops, two-day sessions developed to ensure sustainability for the teaching of expressive arts beyond the scope of this project.