Arts and health research

Creative Movement and Writing

Dance4Dancing Our Stories: Exploring the Effects of Dance in Older Adult Wellbeing, 2014

• Anna Berrall
• Jurgis Karuza
• Angela Oh
• Renee Potashner
• Andreah Barker
• Krista Samborsky
Research was conducted among community dwelling older adults to investigate the potential benefits that could be derived from participation in Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) programs. Participants reported the program as meeting their needs for socialization and exercise; as well, a significant reduction in pain and improvement in breathing was observed. We plan to embark on further research with larger samples and varied populations to help us evaluate the impact of DMT and learn how it can be integrated into our programming.


Artful Engagement, 2009

• Baycrest: Melissa Tafler, Nicole Anderson, Takako Fujioka
• Royal Conservatory: Ann Patteson
• Toronto Rehabilitation Institute: Pia Kontos
Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to study the impact of creative movement and writing on cognitions and psychosocial wellbeing of older adults living independently, who were cognitively intact or with mild cognitive impairment. In comparison to control groups, participants in both conditions showed increased positive affect, decreased negative affect, and improvement in general health. Due to the positive experiences of participants, dance and creative writing programs have been incorporated into our programming; they continue to be run in the Terraces and have influenced the growth of programs in the hospital and nursing home.


Visual Arts

Art Therapy Projects, 2014: Building Our Neighbourhood, Music and Collage for the Seasons, From Old to New—Restoring Old Objects

• Andrea Savoie
• Merav Gilboa
Participation in art therapy programs was found to enhance mood, provide cognitive stimulation, and generate positive social interactions among older adults living with moderate dementia in long term care. Art therapy programs continue to operate within the Apotex, and future studies will further examine the impact of art therapy on client wellbeing and mood.


24Intergenerational Connection through Arts Based Intergenerational Intervention (ABII), 2013

• Baycrest: Fran Kleiner, Andrea Savoie, Allison Eades, Annie Robitaille
• Westmount Collegiate Institute: Carol Clarfield
The study included community dwelling older adults living with physical frailty and/or mild dementia and grade nine students from Westmount Collegiate Institute. Resultant data suggests that arts-based intergenerational programs can positively influence attitudes held by one generation about another. Future iterations will be conducted to assess statistical significance with a larger sample size.


Evaluation of Impact of Visual Arts Workshop on Staff Wellness, 2011

Researcher: Melissa Tafler
This intervention was designed for Baycrest staff, most of which reported feeling rejuvenated and grateful after participation in the workshop. Results demonstrate the efficacy of using arts based activities to enhance employee health, wellness, and self-care.


Music and Technology

Getting Your Grove on with the Tenori-On

Researcher: Dr. Amy Clements Cortes
The purpose of this study was to assess the use of the Yamaha Tenori-on digital instrument in clinical music therapy sessions with a variety of clients across the lifespan, with particular focus on older adults with cognitive impairment. Participants described the instrument as fun, engaging, motivating, having sensory appeal, being well suited for improvisation and easy for non-musicians, but also complicated to master.


Sing-A-Long of the 1930s

Researcher: Dr. Amy Clements Cortes
This study investigated the utilization of an original sing-a-long DVD and activity package titled Sing-A-Long of the 1930’s to engage and encourage participation among older adults with cognitive impairment. The results focused on participant, caregiver, and facilitator’s perceived benefits and indicate the DVD was successful in engaging older adults with cognitive impairment in social interaction and discussion, participation in meaningful activity, reminiscence, sensory stimulation, and quality of life in aging.