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Creative Aging: Put That Spring in Your Step

August 30, 2012
Brian Carrigan

There’s little question that senior citizens who are active and engaged in their communities can enjoy a happier – and perhaps even longer – life. And the good news is that there are a myriad of ways seniors can keep their minds and bodies active.

One of the best routes to a satisfying lifestyle is pursuing one’s creative calling. For many retirees, “creative aging” can comprise returning to a skill they enjoyed when they were younger, and even taking on the challenge of mastering a long-held but previously out-of-reach hobby or dedicated undertaking.

What’s the gift you were most in possession of until “real life” intervened? Were you skilled in painting, writing, or maybe acting? Perhaps woodworking or gardening was the activity that best characterized your creative side. Regardless of the activity, there are plenty of opportunities to return to a talent that may have been dormant for too long, or to discover a totally new way to express the real you.

Brian Carrigan

Brian Carrigan
Founder & Co-Manager

A huge benefit of pursuing creative paths is that it helps keep seniors’ minds active through innovation and creativity. For others, artistic activities return them to a nostalgic time and place when just about anything was possible. And for others, taking part in a creative activity gives them the opportunity to interact with like-minded folks. Clearly, the upsides are many.

The National Center for Creative Aging is perhaps the country’s largest organized advocate, which touts the connection “between creative expression and one’s quality- of-life.” This user-friendly site provides great resources, education, and research to aid seniors in discovering their creative muse and locating an outlet for that inspiration.

In the Athens area, there is arguably no better platform to chase your muse than at the University of Georgia’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Established in 1994 as Learning in Retirement, OLLI@UGA currently counts some 700 seniors as members. With a mission statement that “seeks to meet the intellectual, social and cultural needs of mature adults through lifelong learning,” OLLI@UGA offers classes in history, religion, literature, art, architecture, performing arts, science, and computers—to name just a few. Field trips are also scheduled for attractions and activities both in town and within the region. Fees are reasonable: $45 per year for membership and $8 per session for participation in any/all courses.

Many of OLLI’s teachers are UGA professors, but the organization is always on the lookout for folks to provide their expert experience as instructors. So if there’s a creative outlet where you specialize, you could well find yourself at the head of the class.

You’ve earned the right to finally pursue your life’s interests. Get started and enjoy the process.

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