Creative Aging In Healthcare

Creative arts therapists and community artists work in diverse settings with older adults, assisting them through a variety of life stages. The use of arts practices in healthcare has been proven to not only benefit older adults, but also help contain healthcare costs—a win-win for everyone.

Economic analyses and cost studies confirm that the arts enhance coping and improve response to treatment, reducing the costs associated with extended hospital care and pain medication. Access to arts interventions reduces older adults’ level of depression and anxiety, contributes to their in-patient satisfaction, and improves providers’ responses to the older adults in their care and their retention rates.

Arts practitioners work with a wide spectrum of older adults in almost every setting, including but not limited to, nonprofit and for-profit healthcare facilities, hospice programs, long-term care facilities, mental health programs, adult day centers, rehabilitation treatment centers, veterans’ facilities, prisons, community centers, wellness programs, and military bases.

Despite strong historical beginnings in veterans’ hospitals during World War II, having previous research funded through grant awards from the Department of Health and Human Services, and having inclusion in federal programs such as the Older Americans Act, creative aging in health is still under-funded and under-researched.


  1. Find more details in the Arts in Health Issue Brief.
  2. Check out the National Endowment for the Arts’ Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development.
  3. Read about the research that supports creative aging within healthcare settings.
  4. Read the White House Summit on Creative Aging led by the National Center for Creative Aging.