Ageless ArtOrganization Associated with Program
The Ageless Art program of We Care Arts (Kettering, Ohio) brings art classes to older adults in long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, retirement communities, senior centers, and healthcare settings including clinics and hospitals. Participants in the program have the opportunity to create and exhibit original art while learning new skills under the guidance of a professional teaching artist. Social interaction and community bonding are important to individual wellbeing and healthy aging and are therefore incorporated into the program through scheduled group discussions about individual artwork and exhibitions. Approximately 800 people, including 100 older adults, are served each year by programs conducted by We Care Arts.
In 1984, We Care Arts began conducting programming for people living with disabilities, and older adults have always been a part of the We Care Arts community. In 2011, We Care Arts developed Ageless Art to bring arts programming to residential centers serving older adults in an effort to expand programming to those who could not come to the We Care Arts facility because of limited mobility and access to transportation.
This program has been integral to We Care Arts’ ability to build and grow partnerships with local long-term care facilities, assisted living centers, and other aging services groups. An internship program was developed in collaboration with local universities, expanding the capacity of Ageless Art to serve the community. This initiative has given We Care Arts insight into the lives of older adults, which enables the organization to successfully foster healthy community connections that improve quality of life for participants while emphasizing their abilities and interests.
We Care Arts uses multiple evaluations on an ongoing basis throughout the program. Ongoing review of the outcomes of interventions to evaluate their effectiveness and determine the reasons for success enables the organization to make changes that increases the success of the program and of the older adults participating. The organization uses interviews, individual assessments, attendance numbers, and press reviews as core evaluation components. Evaluations are conducted by staff and a related agency or partner organization.
Teaching artists who have worked with older adults have experienced ongoing insights and learned new techniques that have enabled them to effectively adapt their work to successfully engage this population.