Aging and Creativity by A. Hazra and V. Mercado

Shifting the Perspective: Aging and Creativity by Arpita Hazra, MPH ‘18 and Vianca Mercado, MPH ‘17
To age does not mean to wither away,
We must motivate the seniors to find fulfillment in their day,
Regardless of age we believe creativity is a great way to accomplish and find fulfillment,
In this direction, The Creativity and Ageism conference at Hofstra University this past year was a big achievement!

Ageism is often a topic overlooked. The daylong conference, Shifting the Perspective: Aging and Creativity, has been organized in attempt to eradicate negative attitudes about growing older and to break down the barriers that affect the older population. This conference was the brainchild of Carol Waldman who is the executive director of Glen Cove Senior center. After some brainstorming sessions and arranging funding for the conference she got in touch with Dr. Corinne Kyriacou, who was our program director at that time and is on sabbatical for next few months. Dr. Kyriacou worked alongside Carol Waldman and we were very fortunate to witness the coming together of this beautiful conference. On November 29th, 2016, Hofstra University and the Glen Cove Senior Center hosted this interdisciplinary conference, where we embraced the changing face of what it means to grow older – and the link between creativity and aging – with fellow students, faculty, senior service providers, practitioners in the field of gerontology, older adults in the community, policy makers, and interested members of the community. By comparing the characteristics of the aging brain to the creative brain, and by exploring the psychological impact aging has on creativity and creativity has on aging, we aimed to strengthen our understanding of how imagination builds through time. We advance the opportunities and adventures for older adults to continue finding meaning in life, and we open up avenues of support as population that can thrive immensely if given the chance.
Medical science has led to increased life expectancy. Now the next challenge is to keep these seniors occupied and as a functional part of our society for as long as possible. Many people do not follow through with their creative pursuits in the mundane schedule of their lives. They are chasing after their children, their work, paying for the house rent and doing what most people have to do. Now that they have mostly retired and their responsibilities have shrinked, they should be encouraged to pursue their interests which they let go of in the past. It is the time to embrace the freedom to pursue whatever they had so longed to pursue but could not do so in the past.
It poured all day on the day of the conference and we expected fewer people to attend. But we were pleasantly surprised, throughout the day the seniors kept coming in. Struggling with umbrellas and rain shoes and braving the weather they were excited to be a part of this conference. The conference celebrated the seniors along with motivating and giving them ideas of what they could pursue.

Overall, the conference was a huge success with approximately 400 attendees throughout the day. We believe that the message was delivered to the public and we are truly thankful to all those who supported us in educating the public on such a topic.


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