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Baycrest’s ArtontheBrain collaborates with Boston  institutions in study ahead of digital therapeutic intervention launch for seniors
October 30, 2019 Renowned Boston Museum and Hebrew SeniorLife to play key part in study showcasing the benefits of web-based therapeutic intervention, improving access to meaningful recreation among older adults.

Baycrest’s web-based therapeutic intervention, ArtontheBrain, finds support from two world-renowned institutions based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), and the city’s Hebrew SeniorLife, a Harvard Medical School affiliate that offers communities and health care for seniors, research into aging, and education for geriatric care providers, collaborated on Baycrest’s new web application, aimed at addressing the problem of reduced access to meaningful recreation among older adults.

The Boston-based institutions participated in a key ArtontheBrain study demonstrating the benefits of the digital application among older adults residing in long-term care. The study, currently under review, showed significantly above chance improvements in one or more wellness measures examining psychological wellbeing, quality of life, and attention span among participants. Feedback from participants about their experience indicated strong desire for continued access to the application.

As the world’s aging population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, more and more older adults are experiencing social isolation and loneliness and becoming vulnerable to accompanying health risks including cognitive decline, depression and heart disease. ArtontheBrain looks to fight this epidemic, using technology to provide a safe way for seniors to socialize, while benefiting from games and activities that promote memory and improve cognitive function.

“With the number of older adults expected to more than double to 1.5 billion in 2050 worldwide, there is an urgent need to find new ways to help adults age well, ensuring continued quality of life,” says Aviva Altschuler, Manager, Department of Culture, Arts at Baycrest and Co-Creator of ArtontheBrain.

“Our collaboration with Boston’s MFA and Hebrew SeniorLife further validates the need for, and positive benefit from, a tool that will help “all” older adults by providing opportunity for enjoyable recreation that fosters a sense of mastery and belonging,” said Dr. Kelly Murphy, Psychologist at Baycrest and Co-Creator of ArtontheBrain.

Scientifically validated by an international team of cognitive aging experts, the application uses a growing database of artwork provided by museum partners like the MFA, to engage users in a variety of activities derived from neuropsychological research.

“At the MFA, we believe in the power of art and we are thrilled about our partnership with Baycrest, which supports our mission of bringing art and people together,” said Debra LaKind, Senior Director, Intellectual Property & Business Development at the MFA. “We aim to be at the forefront of innovating access to art for a healthy society. ArtontheBrain provides an interactive pathway through which seniors can enjoy our collection.”

Boston’s Hebrew SeniorLife will be one of the first launch sites where this application will be made available to residents as part of their therapeutic recreation programs.  

 “ArtontheBrain had such a positive impact on the well-being of Hebrew SeniorLife seniors and staff alike. It enabled us to think differently about how we create communities using technology, and we all benefitted as a result,” said Tammy Retalic, Chief Nursing Officer & Vice President of Patient Care Services, Hebrew SeniorLIfe, Boston, MA.

ArtontheBrain aims to be a solution that healthcare professionals can ‘prescribe’ to patients, including those with cognitive decline, as a non-pharmacological intervention to promote brain health and wellness. The end user would benefit from the ability to build leisure capacity, stay connected, keep cognitively engaged and age well.

ArtontheBrain is poised to be the first consumer product of its kind to be validated in the marketplace. To learn more about ArtontheBrain, visit www.artonthebrain.org
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