- 2017 edition centered on evidence-based perspectives in arts and ageing, and inter-generational collaboration
- Participation in arts activities contribute significantly to mental health and sense of purpose in seniors
SINGAPORE, 6 September 2017 –The Arts in Eldercare Seminar 2017, organised by the National Arts Council (NAC) as part of Silver Arts 2017, continues to explore how engagement in the arts can contribute to the psychosocial well-being of seniors. Highlights of this year’s seminar covered evidence-based perspectives in arts and ageing, arts and health programmes in different care settings, and inter-generational collaborations.
2 Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth officiated the seminar as Guest-of-honour. She shared top line findings from The Arts for Ageing Well Study, affirming that seniors engaged in the arts experience a greater sense of holistic well-being. The annual seminar was attended by over 300 social and healthcare practitioners, artists, aged care policymakers and funders.
3 The 4th edition of the seminar featured eminent overseas and local speakers, including Assistant Professor Andy Ho, School of Social Sciences at NTU and Principal Investigator of The Arts for Ageing Well Study; Dr Maggie Haertsch, co-founder and CEO of the Arts Health Institute in Australia; and Ms Ying-Ju Tsai, Director of History Alive from Taiwan who shared insights on inter-generational collaborations. (Please refer to Annex A for profiles of speakers)
4 Funded by the NAC, The Arts for Ageing Well Study is a pioneering, population-based study worked with a sample size of 1,000 participants aged 50 and above. Led by Assistant Professor Andy Ho, the study commenced in March 2016, providing insights into the effects of arts attendance and participation on the holistic wellbeing of seniors. This is part of the Council’s commitment to champion the creation and appreciation of the arts as an integral part of Singaporeans’ lives.
5 Three in four seniors acknowledge the benefits of the arts and value the arts for inspiration (78%), as a means of expression (76%) and for bridging differences (74%). Moreover, seniors engaged in the arts enjoy significantly higher quality of life, amongst both arts attendees and participants. Particularly, seniors who attend arts events experience significantly enhanced Social Support (+4%), Physical Health (+3%), and Cognitive Functioning (+3%). Correspondingly, seniors who participate in arts activities experience significantly enhanced Meaning in Life (+10%) and Mental Wellbeing (+4%).
6 Ms Chua Ai Liang, Senior Director, Engagement & Participation, National Arts Council said: “We are deeply encouraged by the positive findings of The Arts for Ageing Well Study that affirm the impact of the arts in the lives of seniors. Beyond providing touch points such as the Silver Arts Festival for seniors to encounter quality and relevant arts content, we will continue to work with partners to enable a broad cross-section of seniors to experience arts in various social settings. We want to provide more opportunities for inter-generational interactions, to build and strengthen social bonds through the arts.
7 The Arts in Eldercare Seminar 2017 is in conjunction with Silver Arts 2017. Taking place from 1 – 24 September, the festival will bring together over 80 veteran and younger artists, as well as art groups and volunteers presenting 38 programmes – offering opportunities for both seniors and younger Singaporeans to enjoy the arts together, fostering greater inter-generational understanding and a more caring community.
 Using a Propensity Scored Matching method, both groups of arts attendees and non-arts attendees were matched so differences in demographic characteristics and levels of physical activity are eliminated, allowing for causal inference to be made. The mean scores of arts attendees showed significant percentage differences in terms of social support, physical health and cognitive functioning tests, compared to non-arts attendees. E.g. Arts attendees were 3% more likely to have better cognitive functioning compared to non-arts participants.
 The above description in footnote 1 applies similarly for arts participants and mean participation scores.