The Arts at Asbury: Creating Paths to Healthy Aging

Empowering Healthy Aging Through the Arts at Asbury

At Asbury Communities, we’ve long understood the incredible impact that the arts can have on our lives. While we all know the basics of staying healthy – eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep – there’s something special about flexing our creative muscles that help us thrive, especially as we age. According to a 2019 study by The National Institute on Aging, participating in the arts can pave the way to healthy aging, enhancing overall health, well-being, and independence in older adults.

Whether you’re young or young at heart, getting involved in the arts can work wonders for your mind and body. Studies show that staying active in the arts, whether through dance, woodworking, painting, or other creative outlets, can keep our brains sharp and boost happiness by releasing those “feel-good” chemicals like serotonin. And here’s the best part – you don’t have to be Picasso to enjoy the benefits!

Here are some highlights of how our programs at Asbury benefit our residents:

  • “Lifelong learning and social engagement are critical to healthy aging,” says Katie McKenzie, Well-Being Director at Asbury’s Springhill Senior Living Community. “Engaging in the arts unites these and so many other components to well-being. And you can be an appreciator or take part in creating art – and still reap the benefits.”
  • “Building relationships through the arts fosters a sense of belonging and reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation, which are common among older adults,” says Kristin Juchem, Director of Resident Life at Bethany Village.
  • “It’s great to be able to offer residents the chance to continue to do something they’ve always done or to try something they’ve never done,” says Dennis Poremski, Well-Being Director at Asbury Solomons. “Immersion in the arts is such an important part of healthy aging.”
  • “Keep exploring, keep learning, and never stop having fun,” says Emily Hruz from the Well-Being Department at Normandie Ridge in York, Pa. “It’s all about staying active and keeping your mind sharp while making new friends along the way.”

Embracing the Arts at Asbury Communities

“The arts are important in any stage of life,” says Katie McKenzie. “It gives you an emotional, social, and spiritual outlet.” At Asbury, the arts are at the heart of our EngAge Well program, a comprehensive approach to well-being that focuses on movement, connection, and experience.

Art is Ageless

At Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, Md., residents enjoy a vibrant arts community with partnerships with the Iris Music Project and the National Philharmonic that bring in talented musicians for residencies and monthly performances and allow musically inclined residents to play with the artists.

Residents also run and highlight their artistic talents in the Kilby Art Gallery. The Gallery offers a space to appreciate and celebrate each other’s artwork.

Additionally, the community participates in exhibitions like “Art is Ageless”. This exhibit features paintings from Asbury residents and other local artists. It highlights the creativity of older adults while challenging ageist stereotypes.

“So many people love art, and they feel passionate about it,” says Barbara Kilby, a resident at Asbury Methodist Village. Barbara not only spearheaded the creation of the gallery through a partnership with the Asbury Foundation but also dedicates her time as a volunteer art mentor for the Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative, nurturing young artists in nearby schools.

Alongside other residents, Barbara fosters a vibrant arts community. This includes groups like the Asbury Singers, Asbury Ringers, and a Play Readers group. The visual arts are engaged through a photo club, bi-monthly gallery trips and participation in the Visual Arts Committee. Literary art outlets include a memoir writing class through the resident-run Keese School and a Poetry Club.

Expanding Cultural Knowledge

Springhill’s Folk Artist Series highlights a tapestry of art forms reflecting diverse cultures. From the melodies of a Native American flute player to the intricate designs of a Sudanese tattoo artist, each guest artist offers a window into their cultural heritage.

At Springhill, residents can enjoy an array of engaging activities throughout the year. These include an annual art show, a craft fair, choir performances, painting classes, and outings to theaters and parks, and free tickets to dress rehearsals at the Erie Playhouse. Top of Form

“That’s one of the greatest benefits of living here,” says Katie. “All of these opportunities and experiences can be enjoyed right outside your front door.”

Creating Belonging

At Bethany Village in Mechanicsburg, Pa., the hallways of the campus buildings are adorned with eye-catching artwork. Curated by the resident-run Art Committee, the rotating collection is a mix of art from residents’ personal collections.

Committee members actively maintain artwork and organize on-site installations for both residents and the public. Past exhibits have showcased works from regional artist groups like the Seven Lively Artists and themes like “Journey Across America,” featuring various artists, poets, and musicians.

Residents have various opportunities to engage, including a weekly arts and crafts program. They also participate in volunteer initiatives like the Salvation Army and Catilin Smiles, an arts program for children with health challenges. Additionally, a bi-weekly painting class provides personalized instruction for painters of all levels.

Shall We Dance?

One of the newest activities residents are trying is a monthly dance series. Here they can learn new moves and practice their skills within many dance styles.

“It’s social, it’s safe, it’s fun, and it’s accessible,” says Dennis. And it’s good for you. Along with improving the cardiovascular system, dancing builds muscle tone, endurance, and triggers the brain to release endorphins – hormones that power up neurotransmitters and make us feel good.

The Asbury Solomons Players theater group, gathers weekly to produce on-campus productions, fulfilling roles ranging from actors to makeup artists. Acting not only fosters creativity but also serves as an effective cognitive exercise, engaging multiple areas of the brain simultaneously.

Monthly paint-and-sip classes, karaoke nights in the Pub, quilting sessions with the “Piece Makers” club, a handbell choir, and organized trips to plays, museums, and performances all provide excellent opportunities for socialization and engagement.

Unleashing Creativity

At Normandie Ridge, residents have the opportunity to explore their artistic passions at the Creative Place Cottage. At the Cottage there are regular classes in painting, crafting, and more provide a space for creativity and socializing. Additionally, there are in-house performances and outings to theaters, parks, and other local attractions, ensuring a vibrant and engaging community.

Emily Hruz from the Well-Being Department loves seeing the smiles on residents’ faces when they finish their projects. “Their enthusiasm is contagious and motivates others to step out of their comfort zones and give it a shot.”

Join us in embracing the transformative power of the arts in aging at Asbury Communities. Contact us today to learn more and embark on a journey of artistic discovery and fulfillment!

Twitter Facebook