Active Aging and the Arts

In This Issue:
Upcoming Deadlines
Research & News
Funding Opportunities

Upcoming Deadlines

June 22, 2010: AGHE Call for Abstracts Deadline
August 2, 2010: Hartford Doctoral Fellows Program Application Deadline

July 1, 2010: Deadline for AGHE Hiram J. Friedsam Mentorship Award Nominations
August 31, 2010: Deadline for early bird registration rate for CSWE APM Meeting
September 1, 2010: Deadline for early bird registration for the Gerontological Society of America's Annual Meeting

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Hartford Foundation Annual Report Celebrates 10th Anniversary of the Geriatric Social Work Initiative
The 2009 John A. Hartford Foundation Annual Report celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Geriatric Social Work Initiative, and includes details on each of Hartford’s social work programs as well as profiles of current and former awardees. The report is featured in a blog series on the Hartford Foundation blog, HealthAGEnda. The first post, titled “Celebrating a Decade of Leadership in Geriatric Social Work” and written by Senior Program Officer Nora OBrien-Suric, introduces the six-part series and gives an overview of Hartford’s geriatric social work initiatives. You can find it here: Please check back with the blog for future installments, or use one of the subscribe options in the right-hand column to follow the blog regularly.

Cohen Creativity Award Nominations Welcomed
The Gene D. Cohen Creativity and Aging Research Award, given in association with the National Center for Creative Aging, recognizes a professional whose research clearly shows that creative activities, particularly arts programs, can maintain and even improve the physical, emotional, and cognitive well being of older adults. This distinction recognizes and honors the seminal work of the late Gene Cohen, MD, a former Gerontological Society of America president whose research in the field of creativity and aging shifted the conceptual focus from a problem paradigm to one of promise and potential. The winner will be recognized at GSA's Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans, LA, in November. (Travel, lodging, and registration will also be provided.) The deadline for nominations is August 1.

Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Recognition and Award Program
The deadline to submit your community's application for the Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging award is drawing near.  Applications for the 4th annual Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging 2010 are due July 17th. This award recognizes communities for their outstanding comprehensive approaches to implementing principles of smart growth, as well as strategies that support active aging. It is presented to communities with the best and most inclusive overall approach to implementing smart growth and active aging on a variety of fronts, at the neighborhood, tribe, city, county, and/or regional level.  If you would like to submit an application to be considered for this recognition please see:    

Art Highlights* at GSA’s 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting, taking place this November:

Humanities and Arts Committee Presents: A Festival of Short Films
Featuring short films by the filmmakers gathered for H&A’s Pre-Conference Workshop “Film and Social Media in Aging Research and its Translation.”  Followed by special post-show question and answer with the filmmakers. The featured film will be A King in Milwaukee by 371 Productions.  Artist David Greenberger transformed over 60 interviews with Milwaukee elders into 38-songs, a CD, and a rock concert with the Paul Cebar Stage Ensemble.  Learn Greenberger’s unique approach to the art of conversation with older adults, particularly those experiencing memory loss.  30 min, documentary.

What it means to love New Orleans
Clarinetist and author Tom Sancton leads a multigenerational jazz band ranging in age from 33 to 99 [sic]. In between the musical interludes, Sancton will talk about his experiences as a teenager growing up in New Orleans in the 1960s and learning to play traditional jazz with the elderly African-American musicians at Preservation Hall. The story of this unlikely apprenticeship between a young, white, middle-class boy and his much older black mentors, lovingly chronicled in Sancton’s memoir “Song For My Fathers,” describes a remarkable reaching-out and coming-together over generational barriers. Guests will have the opportunity to meet the artists. 

Registration opens July 1st – visit *Additional fee required

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Research & News

What's Art Got To Do With It?
Like exercise, art can have a whole array of positive affects. Both creating and passively participating in art can help people to heal both psychologically and physiologically. The continued involvement both improves quality of life and influences overall well-being. Recent clinical research supports the idea that making art benefits everyone, including those with chronic degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.Through producing new neurological pathways and thicker, stronger dendrites, simply involving onesself in the creation of art can improve cognitive function. To read more on what art has to do with aging, read Dr. Barbara Bagan's article in Aging Well Magazine.

Woodson Art Museum Treats Alzheimer's Patients
In Wausau, Wisconsin, the Woodson Art Museum is running a program that assists Alzheimer's patients. Spark! aims to keep the healthy right side of the brain intact through viewing and discussion of art exhibits. Curators Jayna Hintz and Erin Narloch develop different themes each month and lead hands-on activities, which allow participants to create art, as well. This program started offering workshops in February and is offered to both patients and their caregivers once a month.

Growing Body of Evidence Links Exercise and Mental Activity
Lenny Bernstein wrote for the Washington Post recently about the correlation between physical exercise and mental fitness. He sites Dr. John J. Ratey, author of the 2008 book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, who provides strong evidence that exercise improves cognitive function and even helps fight dementia. Ratey also states that the major implication is that not only does the exercise preserve the brain, but it can even reverse the cell deterioration that is associated with aging.

This spring at the George Washington University campus, students welcomed seniors for the 8th Annual Senior Prom. This intergenerational social event always draws a large local crowd and volunteers from the university's many student organizations. There were more than 150 volunteers involved and more than 200 local seniors attended the event. Not to be confused with just a fun senior event, dance therapy can improve balance and gait in older adults. The improved functionality older people gain through dance can prevent falls and aid in both speed and balance, which are two major risk factors of falling.

London's Young-at-Heart Embrace Playground for Seniors
A popular new feature at Hyde Park in London draws lines early in the morning. What is it? A senior fitness center that includes low-impact workout equipment like a cross-trainer, sit-up bench, and stationary bicycle. Modeled after similar projects in other parts of Europe, this is London's first and is identified with a sign that says "Hyde Park Senior Playground", though people of any age are welcome to use the equipment for free.

Granny DJ Has Unconventional, But Glamorous Job
69-year-old British granny Ruth Flowers has taken the French by storm. She has spun everywhere from the top Paris hotspots to the Cannes film festival and she's not going anywhere. Granny DJ spins a mix of old-school hits, electrobeats, and bling-bling style, but tells followers who want to be like her, "You don't want to be like me. You want to be you."

In Japan, Art Aides Elderly, Ill and Students Alike
A new collaboration in Japan is benefitting the elderly, ill, and students alike. Nursing care centers and medical institutions have been working with art colleges to bring art and culture to light. Professor Masayuki Yamano of the Joshibi University of Art and Design in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, says that they practice "healing arts" to turn medical centers and nursing homes from lifeless places into places full of healing energy. To read more about this effort, see the original article from Daily Yomiuri Online, Yomiuri Shimbun, iStockAnalyst and the Associated Press.

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Funding Opportunities

New Funding Opportunities from NIH
The National Institute of Health has a number of grant opportunities, which include, but are not limited to the following:

1. Secondary Analyses of Social and Behavioral Datasets in Aging (R03)
2. Clinical Trial Planning Grants for Critical Illness and Injury in Aging (R34)
3. Mechanisms Underlying the Links between Psychosocial Stress, Aging, the Brain and the Body (R01)

For a more complete listing on the NIH funding available for aging-related research, please click here.

Administration on Aging Funding
The Administration on Aging also has a number of grant opportunities. They include, but are not limited to the following:

1. Affordable Care Act Medicare Beneficiary Outreach and Assistance Program Funding for Title VI Native American Programs
2. Implementing the Affordable Care Act: Making it Easier for Individuals to Navigate their Health and Long-Term Care through Person-Centered Systems of Information, Counseling and Access
3. Alzheimer's Disease Supportive Services Program: Evidence-Based Caregiver Intervention Programs to Better Serve People with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders

For a more complete listing on the AoA funding available for aging-related research, please click here.

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Administration on Aging Releases Online Toolkit for Serving Diverse Communities
This Toolkit provides the Aging Network and its partners with a replicable and easy-to-use method for providing services for any diverse community.  The Toolkit consists of a four-step process and a questionnaire that assists professionals, volunteers and grassroots advocates with every stage of program planning, implementation and service delivery for older adult communities, their families and caregivers.  The core principles of the toolkit include respect, inclusion and sensitivity as the hallmarks of quality service.  This Toolkit is an invitation to agencies and their partners to make a cultural shift in service provision, to learn, to grow and fully appreciate the diverse community of older adults they serve. The Toolkit can be found at:    

The Philips Center Website
The Philips Center for Health and Well-Being, an organization dedicated to improving quality of life for people around the world, has a new website. Download the Philips Index Report: America's Health and Well-Being, which includes information on the Philips Index, How Americans Take Care of Their Health, the Different Health Personalities, the Roles of Weight, Diet, Sleep, and Stress, Where Americans Want to Live and the Role of Technology.

Disparities in Quality of Care for Midlife Adults Versus Older Adults
A new report on the Disparities in Quality Care for Midlife (45-64) Adults Versus Older Adults (65+) has been released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. The report discusses disparities in those with diabetes who become eligible for Medicare and disparities related to cardiovascular conditions due to the correlation with diabetes. Policy implications and recommendations for future directions for research are also included.

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Seniors Across the Country Discuss the Affordable Care Act with President Obama
As the new health care plan rolls out, President Barack Obama is reaching out to seniors across the country to explain and address what it means to the general public and the seniors in particular. On June 9th, the President communicated with seniors in many states via a tele-town hall meeting, including tens of thousands of seniors and over 100 watch parties. He discussed how the act helps seniors and improves Medicare and answered questions from the audiences. For a video of the meeting and a full transcript, please see the post from the White House blog.

Secrecy Surrounding Obama's Deficit Reduction Commission
Is there a secret commission currently plotting to gut Social Security and other entitlement programs? Several advocacy groups have become concerned about the work of President Obama's Deficit Reduction Commission, a task force charged with coming up with a plan to stabilize a soaring national debt. The deficit commission members have begun to meet on issues concerning all manner of spending, including entitlement programs (such as Medicare), discretionary spending, the tax system, and social security. Commission members, however, have declined to answer as to which options they may be considering. AARP,, the Campaign for America's Future, Social Security Works, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare all weigh in on their concerns over cuts to social security. To find out more, please see the original article published in the Washington Post.

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Ripples, an e-newsletter designed to keep interested deans and directors, faculty members, students, practitioners and others informed about the work of the Geriatric Social Work Initiative (GSWI). We welcome your feedback and encourage you to contribute any story ideas, stories, resources, news and other content to subsequent issues of the newsletter. To make a contribution, please contact us via email at

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