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A Look Inside Arts Colonies for Older Adults

The residents there say it's a dream come true

By Heidi Raschke

Read the following quotes and see if you can guess what kind of place the people quoted in a recent segment on the Canadian news show The National are talking about:

  • "I'm pursuing my dream. Absolutely."
  • "This is a dream where I can come to a place and be who I really am."
  • "I love to make people laugh. I have a humorous streak in me. I don't know where that came from because it sure as hell didn't come from my parents."
  • "I think it's the stretching of the brain, being challenged to do something that you have not done before or doing something that you have done before but doing it better."

Chances are you didn't guess "senior housing." But if you did, you were right.

The segment took an in-depth look at the amazing goings-on inside the senior artists colonies created by EngAGE as an alternative to traditional facilities for older adults by offering college-level arts courses to residents.

"Research from these centers proves seniors who take part in these high-level arts programs have better cognitive function, visit the doctor less, take less medication and live independently far longer.  And they're happier because they're not only living, they're learning," says The National reporter.

Watch the Seniors Get Late-Life Arts Education segment below and you can see that the residents are happy. It's on their faces and in their voices when they talk about their artistic pursuits and describe what they're doing as a dream come true.

Heidi Raschke is a longtime journalist and editor who previously was the Executive Editor of Mpls-St. Paul Magazine and Living and Learning Editor at Next Avenue. Currently, she runs her own content strategy and development consultancy. Read More
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