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This interview is with Kate Dupuis, Canadian Representative & NEW Blog Editor of the Creative Ageing SIG. Kate spoke to Emily Bradfield, founder & chair of the Creative Ageing SIG, to tell us more about herself, her research interests & to bring a Canadian perspective…

Hi Kate, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your research interests?

KDupuis

I live in Ontario, Canada, where I am a Clinical Neuropsychologist and specialize in working with older adults, their families and care partners.

I work as the Schlegel Innovation Leader in Arts and Aging at the Research Institute for Aging and the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research. In this role, I study the benefits of the arts for individuals across the lifespan, and how we can make it easier for even more people to access arts-based activities. 

In this role, I study the benefits of the arts for individuals across the lifespan, and how we can make it easier for even more people to access arts-based activities. A lot of my research takes place within retirement and long-term care homes where I work with residents, family members, the staff who care for them, and members of the wider community.

Can you tell us more about the new arts and ageing initiative you are bringing to Canada this year?

I was on Twitter one day last Fall when I came across an exciting initiative called Arts in Care Homes Day that was happening in the UK. Through the use of the hashtag: #ArtsInCareHomes organizations were sharing the arts activities being offered to residents, staff, loved ones and community members associated with care homes all across the UK. Throughout the day, homes were also encouraged to create new artistic opportunities that were highlighted via social media.

I had never seen such an exciting online initiative that served to support and showcase arts activities in these settings.

I reached out to the organizers to ask about bringing this day to Canada!

We are very excited to be developing Arts and Aging Day Canada (as we are calling it) to be launched on September 24, 2020. This Canadian initiative will build on what has been done in the UK, and will be overseen by myself, with organizational support provided by the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research and the Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging.

What were your motivations for bringing “Arts in Care Homes Day” to Canada?

The arts can bring people together, provide opportunity for personal growth, and spark fond memories. In my own research, I have found that approximately 20% of recreation and leisure activities being offered to residents of retirement and long-term care can be classified as “arts-based” (e.g. painting, dance, singing). With the many arts activities currently being offered to residents there is a great opportunity for us to share the wonderful art being created within these settings. 

Because Canada is so large, Arts and Aging Day Canada will help to showcase the incredible creativity of our residents and team members at retirement and long-term care homes from coast to coast to coast. Our country covers six time zones, so we could potentially see arts in aging initiatives showcased for over twelve hours — from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, all the way west to Victoria, British Columbia. 

What are your hopes and aspirations for Arts and Aging Day Canada 2020?

I hope that this day will help to showcase how creativity does not have an expiration date. Older adults have incredible wisdom to share, and many are currently doing so through the arts.

I am eager to boost the profile of many amazing initiatives across the country through this national social media campaign. I also hope this day will help more people become aware (if they are not already) of the potential benefits of the arts, and the fact that you don’t have to be “artistic” or “talented” to participate in creating something new — be it a dance step, a poem, or a song. Finally, I hope that administrators and team members of retirement and long-term care homes will use this day as an opportunity to learn about new programs they can share within their own settings. 

We know that a lot of incredible work around the arts is currently being done with and by older adults in our communities. However, unlike the UK, Canada doesn’t yet have a strong national network to profile this work. I hope that our Arts in Aging Day will be the start of a new, national push to profile and support arts activities for everyone, especially older adults. 

Thank you Kate. Where can people follow updates on your research?

You can follow me on Twitter @DrKateTO and @artsaging to find out more about the exciting arts and aging work happening in Canada, plus great research resources @SheridanElder & @SchlegelUW_RIA

Please follow the BSG Creative Ageing SIG on Twitter @BSGcreativeSIG

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