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Elder Care Alliance Awarded California Arts Council “Research in the Arts” Grant

ALAMEDA, CA–The California Arts Council has announced a grant award of $45,000 to Elder Care Alliance as part of its Research in the Arts program.

Research in the Arts fosters original California-based research to contribute to a growing body of international scholarship about the profound impact that the arts have on many aspects of human experience. Research can lead to the development of crucial tools for the field, and provide information to our legislators and other key decision makers.

Dementia Inclusive Communities, an initiative of Elder Care Alliance, works with organizations, individuals, and communities to develop creative methods and strategies that support dignity, choice, and a high quality of life for older adults, regardless of diagnosis of dementia.

Research made possible by the California Arts Council will address the capacity of art to reduce social isolation and loneliness in older adults. Isolation has been identified as a major health risk, on par with obesity or smoking, as well as a risk factor for dementia.

Establishing novel, cost-effective methods to address and combat isolation is imperative, as the Baby Boomer generation moves into older adulthood and the number of people diagnosed with dementia increases, at the same time the United States faces a crisis in the caregiving workforce.

Elder Care Alliance hypothesizes that providing isolated older adults with accessible, low-cost opportunities for social engagement and meaning through the arts will reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, and serve as a cost-effective method to prevent dementia and other adverse health conditions. This research will be a valuable contribution to the field of arts and aging, enabling the creation of new tools and strategies for friendly visiting programs and community members.

According to Adriene Iverson, president and CEO of Elder Care Alliance, “This type of research is important in understanding how we create truly inclusive neighborhoods and communities, where people living with dementia and their care partners can be full participants in cultural and creative opportunities. This work has the power to reduce stigma, loneliness and ageism, while cultivating a sense of purpose and enhancing quality of life. The research can enable us to learn how to replicate and scale it.”

Elder Care Alliance is one of 10 grantees chosen for the Research in the Arts program. The award was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council, with grant funds totaling a projected $24,508,541 for 2018-19, the highest investment in statewide arts programming since the 2000-01 fiscal year.

“Arts and culture are inextricably linked to our humanity,” said Nashormeh Lindo, California Arts Council chair. “They serve as a universal touchpoint for understanding and addressing our societal issues — dismantling inequity, healing trauma, reframing justice, inspiring truth and shaping futures. The Council is humbled to support the vital work of Elder Care Alliance and its passionate efforts to make a better California for us all.

Elder Care Alliance (ECA) is an integrated system committed to serving and enriching the holistic wellness of older adults and those who care for them through education, innovation, and a network of professionals, care communities and partners. ECA accomplishes this mission through the provision of high-quality, person-directed care at its elder communities, as well as through path-breaking initiatives such as the Dementia Inclusive Communities Initiative. This initiative builds partnerships, programs and toolkits to support the inclusion of older adults, people living with dementia, and care partners in all aspects of cultural and community life.

 

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California’s diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Vice Chair Larry Baza, Juan Devis, Jodie Evans, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Donn K. Harris, and Louise McGuinness. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov.