Visual art dialogues in long-term care facilities

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This article reports on the outcomes of a programme of ‘visual art dialogues’ held over a seven-week period with ten older residents in a long-term care facility in Malta. The mean age of participants was 81 years. The action research project investigated the learning impacts of a number of well-known visual art images, particularly in terms of personal gains, identity capital and social/peer interactions. The project explored the reactions of older adults with limited cultural capital to visual art images and captured their feelings of what they learned. The article concludes that the programme resulted in substantial visual art enrichment and informal art appreciation and improved levels of self-expression, social interaction and emotional wellbeing.

Formosa, M., & Cassar, P. (2019). Visual art dialogues in long-term care facilities: An action research study. International Journal of Education and Ageing, 5(1), 23-41.

Image credit: Thyla Jane – unsplash.com

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Director of the United Nations International Institute on Ageing, Malta

Marvin Formosa PhD is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Gerontology and Dementia Studies, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malta. He holds the posts of Chairperson of the National Commission for Active Ageing (Malta), Rector’s Delegate for the University of the Third Age (Malta), and Director of the International Institute on Ageing United Nations – Malta (INIA). Prof. Formosa published widely in the field of ageing studies, and recent publications included Active and healthy ageing: Gerontological and geriatric inquiries (2018), and The University of the Third Age and active ageing: European and Asian-Pacific perspectives (2019).

He is Country Team Leader (Malta) of the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), sits as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal on Ageing in Developing Countries, and his academic interests include older adult learning, Universities of the Third Age, social class dynamics, feminist gerontology, and critical gerontology.