What is Creative AGEing?

For just over ten years now, creative aging pioneers have been catalyzing cross-sector collaborations and building an infrastructure that is yielding new research on the benefits of arts engagement. At the same time they have been designing, testing and sharing innovative best practices and improving the lives of thousands of older adults. 

Creative aging in its many forms is hopeful, often transformative and usually fun!

Creative Aging is a national movement to advance understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging, and a term used to encompass the many types of quality arts programs which support and enrich the lives of adults across the aging spectrum.

Decades of research have found that older adults are healthier and happier when participating in creative aging programs. Among the findings: fewer doctor visits and less medication use for study participants engaged in professionally-conducted arts activities; improved cognitive measures; and self-reported higher morale and less social isolation.

At any stage of life, our sense of well-being is affected by our ability to live with purpose and joy, to deal effectively with life’s changes and challenges, and to sustain positive, meaningful, dynamic relationships, but this becomes particularly acute as we age. Participatory, meaningful arts engagement has a clear and direct impact on these three elements which lead to improved quality of life in older adults.

Our nation is home to a growing older adult population; the U.S. Census Bureau data estimates that by the year 2020, more than 1 in 4 people will be over age 60.

This ‘graying’ of America has precipitated dramatic changes in the field of aging, and as a society, we’re shifting our perspective and understanding of later life. Creative Aging utilizes the unique ability of the arts to move away from a deficits approach to aging, that stresses losses, to an assets approach that stresses strengths, potential and achievements. 


Between 2015 and 2040, the population ages 65 and older will grow by 640,000 people an increase of 72%. This expected growth rate is also reflected in the projected increases in dementia prevalence.

Creative Aging is a movement!  It is about providing opportunity for meaningful creative expression through visual , literary and performing arts.

Creative aging is the practice of engaging in professionally led, participatory arts programs across the lifespan, with a focus on mastery of new skills, social engagement, and life review.



What does social engagement mean?  Social engagement refers to active involvement with other people on both an individual and community level. Such opportunities enable older adults to make new connections, strengthen existing social networks and accomplish something of value and meaning.

Changing the way we look at aging! 

Watch this inspiring video.

Arts and aging programs are community arts!

Arts and aging programs are community arts, and so the process of creation is highly valued.  What is created  is important to an older adults' journey toward mastery and social engagement; the community sharing of the art has many benefits, as well. 

What do we know about older adults in Missouri?

The number of Missourians age 65 and older is projected to grow by some 450,000 over the next 15 years, bringing the total number of seniors to an estimated 1,255,000. The proportion of seniors in Missouri’s population was 13.5% in 2000 and 13.6% in 2008. In 2015,the proportion of Missouri’s population age 65 or older increased to 15.1%; by 2025, to 19.1%. Those proportions will be higher than the proportion of seniors in the nation overall. Missouri’s total population is 5,911,605.


Between 2000 and 2008, the state sustained a slow but steady 5.4% overall growth. The state’s 65 and older population also grew relatively slowly during this period, from 755,837 in 2000 to 805,235 in 2008, an increase of about 6.5%

An important characteristic of the older adult population is that women outnumber men. In 2008, nearly 70% of Missourians age 85 or older were women. That gender difference is projected to moderate somewhat in the next 15 years. In 2015, women were about 68% of the 85 and older population; by 2025, 65%.

Would you like to become an Artful AGEing Partner,

Member or Volunteer?

Join us! Make a difference in the lives of others!

Sign-up below or email our Creative Programs Manager here.


P.O. Box 165303

Kansas City, MO 64116



Arts & AGEing KC is a 501(c)3 organization.

Your donations are tax deductible.

© 2018 by Arts & Aging KC