How We Serve the Senior Adult Community:
For many older adults, later years are a time of loss and isolation. The arts can improve people’s overall health. In 2001, the National Endowment for the Arts, with George Washington University, began to conduct a multi-site national study to determine the influence of cultural programs on the general and mental health, and the social activities of people age 65 and older. Finished in 2006, this important work is called the Creativity and Aging Study. The study suggests that involvement in the arts has a positive impact on maintaining independence, reducing dependency, improving overall health promotion, and preventing disease. Cultural programs for older adults -- like TSP -- appear to be reducing risk factors that drive the need for long-term care.
Older people have skills, knowledge, and experience to contribute to our society if they are allowed to remain active participants. Thus, The Seasoned Performers provides an outlet for performers and audiences that can improve physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Seniors need to stay connected to the community, to make a contribution, and to express themselves artistically. These older adults need venues, schedules and materials that are adapted to suit their abilities – which is just what we give them.
Meeting the State’s Expectations:
There is an ever-growing population of senior adults who wish to experience performance arts. In 2010, the aging population is expected to begin a sharp rise, and in 2011, huge numbers of the first Baby Boomers will turn 65. From 1995 to 2025, Alabama’s senior population is expected to grow by 93.7%.
We have a new program aimed at Memory Care and this has been a greatly appreciated addition to our repertoire. We serve young students with Literacy programming. And we constantly work to provide new, fresh works that deal with contemporary issues and use theatre to educate and enlighten.
How We Serve the Community Using Arts:
Because many audiences cannot afford to pay, around 29% of our performances are given free of charge to the sites through generous grant support. Even the sites which do pay only provide about one-tenth (10%) of the actual cost of our play or reading tours. The rest of the cost of touring is underwritten by a variety of sources: individual gifts, foundation support, and corporate partnerships.
Some older sectors of the population have limited access to the arts because of mobility or income and require arts events to come to them in a neighborhood setting. Many schools are no longer able to afford field trips. Plays and readings taken to students by The Seasoned Performers may be some of the only cultural offerings or educational arts programs they experience.
How We Educate the Community:
• Through life long learning and a new career in the arts for our members
• Through influencing audience members’ perceptions concerning aging
• Through Reading Aloud and Literacy Programs in pre-school, school, and after school programs
• Through modeling active lifestyle in later years
• Through the choice of scripts which often dramatize real-life situations faced by seniors with humor and dignity
• Through choosing roles that support a strong image of our elders
• Through research, education, advocacy, and service