Arts on prescription as innovative festival kicks off for WA seniors

on the Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The arts are currently on prescription for more than 1000 aged care residents and clients as the 2019 Amana Living Arts Festival continues.

The Festival celebrates life, learning and friendship by encouraging older people to take part in a wide variety of creative experiences. Amana Living residents and clients are able to choose from more than 90 events with highlights including puppetry making workshops, song-writing classes, dementia-friendly ‘tactile tours’ of Sculpture by the Sea, and dancing.

The event is a partnership between Amana Living, individual artists, and the State’s leading arts organisations such as WA Symphony Orchestra, Black Swan Prize for Portraiture, Sculpture by the Sea, WA Maritime Museum and the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre.

This year, the Festival has an intergenerational element which sees two Perth schools, John Wollaston Anglican College and All Saints College, come together with Amana Living residents and clients to collaborate on theatre and musical performances.

Amana Living launched the Arts Festival in 2018 to transform the way the arts are used in aged care and to make arts and culture events more inclusive of WA seniors.

Stephanie Buckland, CEO of Amana Living, said, “The arts and creative expression can improve lives through enhancing health and wellbeing, reducing loneliness and strengthening community connections. It has a powerful role to play in helping older people to retain their sense of identity while having fun, plus it’s an opportunity to challenge stereotypes about ageing.

“The rest of the world has already embraced the concept of healthy ageing through the arts. For example, the UK’s Health Secretary is encouraging doctors to prescribe arts activities to improve patients’ quality of life and reduce demand on health services. Initiatives like specialist dance classes are already replacing traditional falls prevention programs.

“We need to raise the bar in WA. While the arts have a place in some of our hospitals and is used sporadically across aged care, arts programs need to be embedded in our residential aged care centres and be more inclusive of seniors living in the community. This is a real opportunity to transform the way people age in WA.”

This year’s Amana Living Arts Festival program has evolved to put a greater emphasis on participation with more hands-on creative ageing events. Research will be conducted throughout the event to evaluate the impact on the seniors taking part and the potential to further scale the event in the future.

The 2018 Amana Living Festival was the first of its kind in WA and the ground-breaking project was awarded the 2018 Anglicare Australia National Award for Innovation and Excellence. Award judges recognised the Festival for its innovative approach to enhancing people’s lives, and they acknowledged the significant scale of the event.

The 2019 Amana Living Arts Festival has been made possible thanks to the generous bequest from the estate of Miriam Stannage and the support of the following sponsors:  Anglican Community Fund, John Hughes, Jasol, Marsh and The League Agency.

Find out more about Amana Living