Addressing Social Isolation through Intergenerational Arts



According to the World Health Organization, a large body of research shows that social isolation and loneliness have a serious impact on older people's longevity, their physical and mental health, and their quality of life. The effect of social isolation and loneliness on mortality is comparable to that of other well-established risk factors such as smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. 

While social isolation and loneliness span all age groups, the effect on older adults, especially those living with dementia, is expanding rapidly with the fast-growing aging population.  

Improving social determinants of health through education on reducing the risks of dementia is a top priority of healthcare initiatives, along with improving the overall health and well-being of our population. 

Intergenerational arts engagement is a powerful means of addressing social isolation across many age groups. Let's explore the benefits of this innovative engagement practice:  

  1. Social Interaction

Participation in intergenerational arts activities fosters social connections, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness often experienced by individuals with dementia. 

2. Cognitive Stimulation

Engaging in creative activities stimulates various cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. 

3. Emotional Well-being

Art provides a non-verbal means of expression, allowing individuals with dementia to communicate emotions, reduce stress, and experience a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. 

4. Sense of Purpose

Involvement in meaningful activities gives individuals purpose and belonging, promoting a positive self-identity and enhancing their overall quality of life. 

5. Enhanced Communication

Art transcends language barriers, enabling individuals with dementia to communicate and connect with others through visual and sensory experiences, promoting meaningful interactions. 

"Art transcends language barriers, enabling individuals living with dementia to communicate and connect with others" 

6. Interdisciplinary Engagement

Collaborative arts activities involve participants from different generations, backgrounds, and abilities, promoting inclusive environments that celebrate diversity and promote understanding.

7. Physical Well-being

Engaging in art activities can improve fine motor skills, coordination, and dexterity, contributing to overall physical well-being and functional independence. 

8. Stress Reduction

Creating art has been shown to reduce levels of stress and agitation in individuals living with dementia, promoting relaxation and improving overall mood. 

9. Family Bonding

Intergenerational arts programs provide opportunities for family members to engage in meaningful activities together, creating lasting memories and strengthening familial bonds. 

10. Community integration

Participating in intergenerational arts initiatives connects individuals with dementia to their communities, fostering a sense of belonging and promoting social inclusion. 

Overall, intergenerational arts engagement offers a holistic approach to dementia care, addressing the physical, emotional, social and cognitive needs of individuals while promoting meaningful connections and enhancing their overall well-being. 

Intergeneration arts programming can be integrated in memory cafes, community centers, adult day centers, senior living communities including independent living, assisted living and memory care, faith communities, colleges, universities and many other locations. 

AGE-u-cate Training Institute is honored to partner with Opening Minds through Arts (OMA), an intergenerational art program designed for people living with dementia aimed at promoting their social engagement, autonomy, and dignity through the experience of creative self-expression. Since 2007, OMA’s mission is to build bridges across age and cognitive barriers through art. OMA is headquartered at Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

To download a case study, e-book or for program information, reach out to AGE-u-cate today!  

Opening Minds Through Art