Does Acting Have Some Memorable Side Effects for Senior Adults?
Bonjour! The casting call has happened, the rehearsals have begun, we are saying hello to yet another year of our annual benefit shows for Meals-on-Wheels! CARte Blanche in Gay Pa’ree is the latest addition to a decade of original shows benefiting Senior Services. In that time, Arbor Acres has contributed over $365,000 to help bring healthy meals to those less fortunate. It’s a good time and perhaps, according to some research, our efforts to help benefit others though acting may actually have some “memorable” side effects for our senior adults.
Written and directed by our own President and CEO, David Piner, the production’s title always includes the word CAR since it’s for Meals-on-Wheels. While there is no talent required to be in this production, it does demand the residents involved learn songs, lines, staging, and all the other parts of putting on a musical. While bringing the story to life is much of the fun, it appears the talents we exercise may make the experience good for more than just a laugh or two.
According to a study in the journal Aging, older adults who took part in acting classes or similar activities like amateur shows were found to have significant improvements in memory, comprehension, creativity and other such cognitive skills. They were able to recall words, story lines, and details. Simply put researchers in that study felt the senior adult’s memory was not only sharpened, but perhaps improved. While there isn’t significant evidence to show how that improvement translates into things like remembering appointments or medicines, it shows that refining those skills in this fun way was beneficial to some extent.
Of course lines will be forgotten, a few song beats will be missed, and there will likely be a misstep in staging. Heck, that’s all part of the fun. What’s really important is this show, this staple of the Arbor Acres culture, will definitely help improve the lives of seniors in need of a healthy meal. Along the way though, it may, just may, make a difference in the memories and mental skills of those who wanted to do nothing more than have a little fun, sing a few songs and help others. That’s what may just deserve a standing ovation. Places everyone!
For the entire New York Times story click below. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/10/business/retirementspecial/elderly-acting-just-might-improve-line-please.html?_r=0