Arts prescribed to improve older people's health

An innovative new program which prescribes arts as an alternative to medication is opening in the Hammondville and North Turramurra areas for older members of the community.

‘Arts on Prescription’ is a fun, engaging, and practical program where experienced artists work with small groups to help participants explore their own creativity and learn new skills - while at the same time focusing on specific health and wellness needs.

Each prescribed program runs for eight weeks at a time, with participants attending one to two classes per week. Twelve experienced artists specialising in a range of artistic forms from painting, visual arts, theatre, photography, music, writing and dance will teach the classes.

Aiding wellness, releasing creativity

‘Arts on Prescription’ Project Director, A/Prof Chris Poulos says creating art can help with a range of wellness needs from anxiety, depression and fragility, to people experiencing social isolation or going through periods of bereavement.

“If someone is frail, lacking in energy or has a fear of falling, doing arts programs that increase their level of physical activity such as dance, singing, drama and movement will help improve their fitness, confidence, strength and balance." A/Prof Poulos said.

“Art can also unlock a person’s creative side, giving them new interests to help them remain mentally active as they age.”

Referral through prescription

As attendance will be formally prescribed, A/Prof Poulos says: “Participants can be referred by their GPs, or they can refer themselves - but they will still need an ‘Arts Prescription’ form completed by their general practitioner.

“A prescription helps reinforce the importance of proactive intervention and legitimises art being beneficial to regaining health just like traditional medicines that need a prescription.”

The program is open to people over the age of 65 who live at home and have unmet health and wellness needs. Programs will be run at HammondCare’s Centre for Positive Ageing and Care at Hammondville and at HammondCare North Turramurra. There is no cost to attend, but participants will require their own means of transport.

Interested in the program? Contact the HammondCare Centre for Positive Ageing on 02 8788 3900, or by email, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..