'Out of the twilight zone' – the arts and wellbeing in the third age

The ECA's President Emeritus Prof. Brian Groombridge has followed up his presentation at the international LLinE conference 'Lifelong Learning and Wellbeing', with an article in the latest edition of the LLinE journal.

The conference, which was held in Tuusula, Finland from 27th -29th January 2010, focused on the following themes

The recently published Volume XV 2/2010 builds on the conference and features a selection of the papers and presentations from or inspired by the event. The articles range from wellbeing at work, national education policy, mental health and 3rd age wellbeing, to form a holistic picture of wellbeing and some answers to the publications central question 'how does learning influence wellbeing in different settings'?

Although the conference focused on adults of all ages Prof. Groombridge's article entitled 'Out of the twilight zone' – the arts and wellbeing in the third age, takes account of the demographic shift by focusing on older people and the arts. He looks at how arts of all kinds can maintain and develop both the mental and physical wellbeing of older people either as practitioners or as audiences. These benefits can be seen through a selection of examples including the U3A, The Zimmers, 3LLL's (Learning in Later Life) and the Alzheimer's Society's 'Singing for the Brain' branches where dementia patients are brought together with their carers to sing.

Policy and research are also addressed in the article including the UK Government's Foresight research project 'Mental Capital and Wellbeing' in which Prof. Groombridge represented the ECA within the High Level Stakeholder Group. He states the need for investment in learning for and about the arts to improve the life of senior citizens whilst benefiting society by reducing costs of care and ill health amongst older people.

"It is incredible that many public and professional people, as well as senior citizens themselves, still expect old age to be a time of withering, not of growth. The evidence-based alternative message must be proclaimed loud and clear!" Brian Groombridge - 'Out of the twilight zone' – the arts and wellbeing in the third age.

Date Added: July 19th 2010