Manor Moments

Artful Connections Program Benefits Residents

July 2022

The arts contribute to healthy aging, making them an effective tool for addressing the wellness needs of older Americans who are living longer and healthier lives than they did a generation ago. Did you know that Pennsylvania has the fourth oldest population in the nation with 2.9 million individuals aged 60 years and older living in the Commonwealth? It is estimated that by the year 2030 there will be more than 3.6 million Pennsylvanians ages 60 and older.

For these individuals, creative aging – which is a set of practices that leverages the benefits of making, sharing or otherwise engaging in the arts to foster the mental, emotional and physical health and well-being of older adults – will become an increasingly important resource in the health care continuum, cultivating lifelong learning and societal well-being.

At Cornwall Manor, we believe it is important to nurture the body, mind and spirit through a variety of ways. As lifestyles and interests of the residents are constantly changing, Cornwall Manor is always looking for ways to add programs to complement existing opportunities or residents to stay active and engaged. We are grateful to have project lead Claire de Boer, MS, as Cornwall Manor introduces new arts for wellness opportunities for residents.

Claire is the founding director of the Arts in Health organization and programs of the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine. Claire directs both Center State Hershey Arts in Health and the Doctors Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine, which focuses on cultivating empathy in healthcare. She is the founding board member and President Emeritus of the National Organization

for Arts in Health (NOAH). Claire has a varied academic background: a BS from Cornell University in Human Development, an MS from Drexel in Global Education, and years of music study and art making. Her academic and professional experiences, her passion for developing arts for wellness programs and her interest in healthy longevity bring her to Cornwall Manor for this opportunity.

An arts advisory committee, aptly named Artful Connections, is comprised of Cornwall Manor residents and team members and met monthly. Claire presented a proposed menu of arts programs that are customizable for all levels of living at Cornwall Manor, including music listening, music making, drama, dance/movement, poetry, pottery, visual art making, visual art appreciation and storytelling. As there are many different forms of art, the opportunities are endless!

After much discussion, the Artful Connections advisory committee is trialing a pilot version of the program beginning in 2022. The artists selected for residency are all professionals who are experts in a given field of the arts. Upon conclusion of the three-month experimental residency, the advisory panel will review evaluations and feedback before implementing a full, ongoing arts for wellness programming at Cornwall Manor.

Communal art will also be included for all residents – regardless of their confidence level – such as metal tooling and glass mosaics. Each resident will be able to create a piece individually and then all the pieces would be incorporated into one larger piece of wall art.

Other choices such as ballroom dancing and painting classes will be offered as part of the pilot. We are excited to develop a best practice, integrated, active, multifaceted arts program to enhance the quality of life of Cornwall Manor residents. Cornwall Manor is extremely grateful to Jeanne Arnold, Cornwall Manor Trustee, for underwriting the planning phase and to Pyramid Construction for their sponsorship of the Artful Connections program at Cornwall Manor.