Building Connections through Bharatanatyam for Creative Aging (1)
Older adults in the US and worldwide are facing enormous levels of isolation and loneliness. Loneliness is defined as the "feeling of being alone" irrespective of the amount of social contacts one has. Social isolation is defined as the overt lack of social connections . As we can see the two are related, but not entirely the same. Research on the tangible impacts of loneliness on the brain are underway, but it is clear that loneliness in older adults may be linked to higher rates of conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, weakened immunity, depression etc. In fact, loneliness and isolation have been suggested to be instigators for a host of physical and mental conditions .
These facts are stark and paint a rather bleak picture. So, what can we do?
The role of the arts in promoting social cohesion has been suggested. Specifically, it has been shown that "creative placemaking", the process of using arts to shape the physical and social characteristics of a place can help achieve social cohesion and promote wellbeing .
In the next post, I will talk about my work using Bharatanatyam for creative aging, and all the ways in which this traditional Indian dance form can promote connectivity and alleviate isolation and loneliness.