What could save Medicare $6.3 billion dollars per year? You probably wouldn't guess regular participation in a choir, dance, theater, or the visual arts.
The research of Gene D. Cohen showed that creativity is universal and continues to function, in conjunction with ongoing psychological growth, throughout the life cycle.
Over the course of two years, he studied the participants of a Washington, D.C.-area chorale comprised of individuals from 65 to 103 years old. He found significantly better health outcomes among these individuals compared to the control group as evidenced by a reduction in doctor visits and medication use, fewer falls and general health problems, as well as better morale and less loneliness (2009 59). Overall, the benefits, when extrapolated to the Medicare population as a whole, would mean a cost savings of approximately $6.3 billion a year.
Because theater activities are mullti-modal--that is, they involve your physical, mental, emotional, and psychological self--Theater in Health is a growing area of practice and scholarship. Theater in Health means theater done for theater's sake and accepting and documenting the health benefits that occur as a result of active or passive participation. This is somewhat different from Theater for Health which has very specific health-related goals and is carried out by, for example, drama therapists.
Dr. Connie's master's thesis explored the development of the use of the creative arts as a tool for health promotion in Scandinavia. She presented a paper, "Using the Creative Arts for Health Promotion in Scandinavia;” at the annual conference of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies, UCLA, May 2018
She was inspired to begin doing research in this area. Projects to date include the following: