For adults over age 50, arts and culture can dramatically reduce the risk of developing depression, decrease the possibility of dementia through volunteer engagement and improve mental and emotional processing power.
A recent major study shows monthly engagement in cultural experiences – including art galleries, exhibitions, cinema and museums – reduces the risk of developing depression by a staggering 48%.
The emotional response to cultural activities such as music involves brain regions critical to the processing of positive emotions and reward. Cultural activities also require cognitive and perceptual engagement associated with lower levels of depression, and cultural engagement has been found to support coping behaviours in the face of physical health challenges.
Haven Toronto offers a Social and Recreational Program that sees clients – who are impacted by poverty, homelessness and isolation – engage in on- and offsite attractions including cultural events, theatre, museums, movies, sports and more.
Ray, a client of Haven Toronto writes, "I know first-hand how important socialization and engagement are for older guys like me. We are lucky to have these activities."
Fancourt, D., Tymoszuk, U., Cultural Engagement and Incident Depression in Older Adults: Evidence from the English Longitudinal Study on Aging