Improving the mental and physical health of older community-dwellers with a museum participatory art-based activity: results of a multicentre randomized controlled trial

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2022 Jul;34(7):1645-1654. doi: 10.1007/s40520-022-02139-3. Epub 2022 May 17.


Background: The aim of this randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to examine the mental and physical effects of a participatory art-based activity carried out at museums in older community-dwellers.

Methods: Based on a bicentre (the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), Montreal, Quebec, Canada; the Fuji Museum, Tokyo, Japan) single-blind RCT in two parallel groups (intervention group versus control group), 228 community-dwelling older adults (mean age 71.1 ± 5.4 years, 76.3% female) were enrolled. The intervention was a participatory art-based activity carried out at the MMFA and the Fuji Museum. The intervention group met weekly for 2 h over a 12-week period. The control group did not participate in any art-based intervention over the study period. Well-being was assessed before and after the first (M0) and the twelfth (M3) workshops, and quality of life and frailty before workshops at M0 and M3. These outcomes were assessed with standardized questionnaires with the same schedule in both groups.

Results: Well-being and quality of life improved significantly in the intervention group compared to the control group. Mixed results were observed with frailty. Although there were significantly more vigorous and fewer mildly frail participants by the end of the session when comparing intervention to control group participants, only a trend was observed in the decrease in mean value of the intervention group's frailty score.

Interpretation: This RCT confirmed that a participatory art-based activity performed weekly over a 3-month period may improve both mental and physical health in older community-dwellers.

Trial registration: NCT03679715; Title: A-Health RCT: Effects of Participatory Art-Based Activity on Health of Older Community Dwellers; First posted date: September 20, 2018; prospectively registered:

Keywords: Art-based activity; Community dwelling; Frailty; Older adults; Quality of life; Randomized controlled clinical; Well-being.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly
  • Frailty*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Male
  • Museums
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Associated data