Creative Aging TN recently awarded $5,000 in Mt. Juliet-based Lantern Lane Farm to help fund programming aimed at connecting older adults with creative experiences in the community.
Lantern Lane Farm plans to use the visual arts as part of its equine and therapy program for seniors suffering from a variety of mental illnesses and related disorders. The goal is to see the arts help senior express emotions and narratives that promote positive health goals and healing.
State Rep. Susan Lynn (R – Mt. Juliet) expressed her appreciation for the grant monies.
“I am very pleased to see Lantern Lane Farm receive a Creative Aging TN grant,” she said. “As our seniors live longer lives, it will be increasingly more important for communities to come together and help support our neighbors in leading meaningful and engaged lives.”
The Tennessee Arts Commission partnered with fellow Tennessee Livability Collaborative members – the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability and the Tennessee Department of Health – to launch the new initiative and statewide grant opportunity. More than $75,000 will be invested to help promote the following outcomes in older adults throughout the state: health and wellness; lifelong learning and engagement; increased positive attitudes/perceptions about aging; and connecting older adults to their communities.
According to an April 2017 state comptroller’s report on senior long-term care, the number of seniors in the state age 65 and over is forecast to almost double from 850,000 in 2010 to 1.7 million in 2030. The population increase is expected to drive significant growth in the demand for and potential cost of current services and programs.
“Our 2017-2021 State Plan notes that current programs are already beyond maximum capacity,” Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability Executive Director Jim Shulman noted. “Programs that can delay or prevent seniors’ functional decline, allowing more to stay longer in their homes, can reduce the need for higher-cost services.”
Anne B. Pope, executive director of the Tennessee Arts Commission, added research has shown art participation in older adults can lead to better health, enhance cognitive function and increase social connections.
The Creative Aging TN grant is a one-time seed funding for innovative projects through the arts that promote health aging of seniors and encourages community partnerships that have the potential for sustainability.