Fall for creativity—at any age

A vista of rich red and gold colours, the comfort of a delicious harvest meal, and a cornucopia of activities to choose from—there’s something about autumn that can bolster our sense of purpose, our energy level, and even our creativity.

Despite the long-held stereotype of creativity being the express domain of young people, many seniors feel they are at the height of their creative powers. This is not in spite of their age, but because of it. Having the time, the focus and the ability to draw upon a lifetime of knowledge and experience can boost creativity in our 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond.

Renowned American folk artist Grandma Moses didn’t begin painting until she was 75: that was because arthritis made it too difficult for her to do embroidery. Laura Ingalls Wilder, beloved author of the “Little House on the Prairie” books, published her first book at 65.

There is also research that shows that age-related changes in the brain can actually contribute to creativity. Dr. Rex Jung, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico, says that after 40, demyelinization in the brain, which affects the transmission of messages, has potential consequences for creativity.

Jung says that reduced brain connectivity in older adults allows ideas to flow more freely. He likens it to “fewer brakes on your frontal inhibitors,” which could encourage creating and connecting ideas in new and different ways.

Experts also say that to foster creativity in your senior years, it’s important to try new things. Not only will this help improve memory and your social life, it will open you to new perspectives and new ideas.

Want to be more creative this fall? Here are three fall-friendly strategies:

Sign up for something completely different, such as a fall class at your local seniors’ or community centre, library or retirement residence. Choose something that takes you out of your comfort zone. Always wanted to try your hand at painting, but never had the confidence? Now is the time to tap into your inner artist.

Spend time in nature. Nature is the ultimate incubator for creativity. Take a walk through the fall colours and let your mind wander. If you have a problem you’re working on, walking (or jogging) outside is a proven way to solve it: ideas can pop into your head, unfettered by your usual indoor routine.

Tell your story. Fall is the perfect time to sit down by a cozy fire and tell your life story. Older people often find that they have excellent recall of events that happened when they were younger. Recounting these stories—orally or written—can be a life-affirming experience that boosts cognition, self-confidence and creativity.

Chartwell is dedicated to helping seniors maintain their overall health and well being through our signature holistic active living and recreational programs. To learn more about our wide range of amenities, activities and worry-free lifestyle, please call 1-855-461-0685 today.