Lantern Lane Farm in Wilson County recently received the $5,000 grant from Creative Aging Tennessee. Lantern Lane Farm plans to use the visual arts as part of its equine and therapy program for seniors who suffer from a variety of mental illness and related disorders. Using the arts will help the seniors express emotions and narratives that promote positive health goals and healing.
More than $75,000 will be invested to help promote the outcomes in older adults throughout the state, including health and wellness; lifelong learning and engagement; increased positive attitudes and perceptions about aging; and connecting older adults to their communities.
“I am very pleased to see Lantern Lane Farm receive a Creative Aging Tennessee grant,” said state Rep. Susan Lynn. “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 called Creative Aging Tennessee.
“Physical activity, engagement and social connection are truly ‘wonder drugs’ with the arts creating environments and inspiration that nudge us to be physically and mentally active,” said TDH Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner. “All of us benefit from the wisdom, skill and time active seniors can invest in our kids and our communities, efforts that improve our happiness, quality of life and health from birth to the end of our lives.”
The number of Tennessee seniors 65 and older are expected to almost double from 850,000 in 2010 to 1.7 million in 2030, according to an April 2017 comptroller’s report on senior long-term care. Driven by the Baby Boom generation size and increasing lifespans, the population change will result in 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. 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,” said Jim Shulman, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.
“Research shows that arts participation in older adults can lead to better physical, mental and emotional health; enhance cognitive function; and increase social connections,” said Anne B. Pope, executive director of the Tennessee Arts Commission.
The Creative Aging TN grant is a one-time seed funding for innovative projects through the arts that promote healthy aging of seniors and encourages community partnerships that have the potential for sustainability. The awards were made to projects that will encourage senior creativity, physical activity, and/or community engagement through the arts. To see the complete award list, visit tnartscommission.org/grants/arts-access/creative-aging-tn/fy18-creative-aging-tn-awards.