Successful aging and creativity in later life


This study examined the meanings older people attached to successful aging and its relationship to creative activity. Thirty-six contributors to a senior art exhibition participated in this study and ranged in age from 60-93. Interviews with participants explored their understandings of successful aging and creativity, the factors viewed as necessary for each, and the benefits of creative activity and its relationship to successful aging. Qualitative data were coded by two independent reviewers. Content analysis confirmed six features of successful aging: a sense of purpose, interactions with others, personal growth, self-acceptance, autonomy, and health. The findings indicate that creative activity contributes to successful aging by fostering a sense of competence, purpose, and growth. Artistic creativity also facilitates successful aging by encouraging the development of problem-solving skills, motivation, and perceptions that translate into a practical creativity in the way these individuals manage their everyday lives.

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Journal of Aging Studies