Medicine 4 the Soul
Art 4 New York (A4NY) believes that the arts and creative expression are a great way to bring people together and promote health and wellness. But many of the seniors in our city’s nursing homes don’t have access to the arts — at a time in their lives when it could provide important opportunities for positive social interaction and alleviate one of the biggest challenges they face: loneliness.
According to a 2017 University of California, San Francisco study, 40% of seniors experience loneliness, or the sense that they’re isolated from society, the community, even their own families. Loneliness can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health. The study found that prolonged loneliness has the same health impact as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and can lead to cognitive decline, weight problems, and other health issues; it can also worsen depression. Programs that get seniors ‘up and moving’ with the arts — like music, dance, and theater — have been proven to prolong life, improve blood pressure, and support wellbeing.
About Medicine 4 the Soul
A4NY’s flagship program, Medicine 4 the Soul, brings volunteer artists from around the city to nursing homes, where we perform songs from popular plays and engage in other arts-related activities with seniors — bringing hope, creativity, and fun to those that need it most.
The program lessens loneliness and isolation in nursing homes by:
Supporting the development of new friendships between residents: Whether it’s a connection that lasts a lifetime or just a good conversation, we create a safe space in which residents can connect with other people on a personal level.
Removing transportation and mobility barriers:
Many seniors don’t have the transportation needed to visit arts institutions (i.e. theatres or museums) or may have physical or mobility challenges. Medicine 4 the Soul brings the arts to them.
Providing a meaningful experience (for volunteers & seniors):
Our volunteers don’t just bring joy to nursing home residents; the residents also bring joy to them. A4NY’s volunteer artists have unanimously stated, again and again, that they find the experience of volunteering at the nursing home incredibly rewarding.
Are you a performer? Do you love to sing? We’d love to have you volunteer with us! Whether you’ve been performing for years, or you’re just starting out, A4Ny's Motto is "Come as You Are." For more info about how to volunteer with us, visit our volunteer page or email INfo@art4newyork.org.
COMING UP NEXT
Community Service Day for high school students that gives them the opportunity to paint with the residents, read plays, sing songs and participate in Jazz Hour.
Inspiring sing alongs, poetry and the painting of hand made heart shape wooden necklaces honor the mothers at the nursing home while celebrating all women. The interactive performance includes discussion questions surrounding female empowerment and lessons from mom.