A community-engaged art program for older people: fostering social inclusion

Can J Aging. 2012 Mar;31(1):55-64. doi: 10.1017/S0714980811000596. Epub 2012 Feb 21.


Social inclusion is an important factor in promoting optimum health and wellness for older adults. Community-engaged arts (CEA) have been promoted as a means to support social inclusion for this population, but little empirical evidence has been reported. The objective of this study was to explore the role of a CEA program in the social inclusion of older, community-dwelling adults. Sixteen hours of participant observation, nine interviews, and document analyses were conducted with 20 older adults participating in the Arts, Health and Seniors (AHS) Program in Vancouver. Results indicated that the program supported seniors' capacity to connect to community in new ways by helping them forge connections beyond the seniors centre. Participants also developed a stronger sense of community through collaboration as a group, working together on the arts project towards a final demonstration to the larger community. The results suggest that CEA programs contribute to social inclusion for older people.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Art*
  • British Columbia
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Isolation / psychology*