An illustration of a paint palette, representing Whiddon's art therapy program. Creative Ageing: Aged Care Activities at Whiddon

A resident painting as part of Whiddon's award-winning creative ageing program.
A resident enjoying some bonding with a hen as part of Whiddon's creative ageing program, HenPower.
A group of residents enjoying cooking together at The Cooking Club, a creative cooking program developed by Whiddon.
A dog cosying up next to a resident on the couch as part of Whiddon's pet therapy program.

A Whiddon carer with a resident doing some gardening as part of a Whiddon creative ageing program.

Creative Ageing is an essential part of our approach to care at Whiddon because of the strong connections between the arts and good health, and the lifelong benefits that creative therapies and programs offer.

We use humour, art, music, song and dance, cooking, storytelling and pet therapy to bring enjoyment and improve the health and wellbeing of our clients and residents in aged care.

Our Creative Ageing programs include a wide range of activities and therapies. Some are aimed at everyone’s enjoyment – gardening programs, arts and crafts, singing and choirs, cooking clubs, games, music, hen keeping and animal therapy – and others are structured therapy programs to support people living with dementia.

As part of our wellbeing offering, we get to see the wonderful friendships formed by residents living in aged care, as they find something they enjoy and use that as a tool to develop friendships with others.

What is Creative Ageing?

There is a wealth of evidence around the connection between creative expression and health and from this emerged the term ‘Creative Ageing’.

Creative ageing is a term we use broadly at Whiddon to talk about different forms of creative expression such as arts & crafts, music, dance, theatre, animal therapy, writing, cooking or gardening.

Creative ageing activities are enjoyable, and therefore something that people are more likely to continue participating in within our care homes. We often see the physical, mental and emotional benefits of aged care residents who frequently participate in various social activities.

Creative ageing also provides a sense of purpose and social participation and helps to create a sense of community amongst residents when they find things in common with others.

Wellbeing and Creative Ageing programs at Whiddon

Across our aged care homes, we offer a range of Wellbeing and Creative programs. These activities are available for residents to participate in, whether they are living permanently within our care home or for a short stay on respite. It’s something we encourage all to participate in and our care staff are there to provide the support they need to be confident in these sessions.

In addition the group activities that are offered as part of our leisure lifestyle program, we also have Whiddon specific programs including:

  • HenPower, an award-winning program involving chickens
  • Dancewise
  • Cooking Club, a social cooking program
  • Creature Comforts, a collection of pet therapy programs offered at Whiddon
  • Growing Together, a gardening program
  • Inter-generational programs with local schools and kindergartens
  • Drumming, Music and choir groups
  • Art, painting, sculpture and craft programs
  • Chat, Stories & Tea, a research-based program that supports people with dementia
  • Powermoves, a beneficial gym program

Providing variety is something we think is so important to do within aged care. It’s a way for our residents to remain engaged and happy every day.

The Incredible Power of Art

An illustration of a paint palette, representing Whiddon's art therapy program.

“Without art, I would be lost.

Most of my family live overseas and because of my stroke, I can’t write letters so I paint for them instead as a way of expressing myself.

Last month I painted a picture of Ayers Rock For my niece in Texas and she just loves it. I paint the images and the care staff here help me address the packages and post them for me.

Being able to paint has given me peace of mind”.

– Susan – resident at a Whiddon residential care home

Benefits of Creative Ageing

Creative ageing activities are enjoyable, and therefore something that people are more likely to continue participating in. This is so important in aged care. We want residents to remain active and engaged, so offering a range of activities is an effective way of achieving this.

Creative ageing provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment to residents in aged care while also building self-esteem and confidence that reduces anxiety, stress and depression. Creative ageing can also improve physical capability and cognition. More importantly, creative expression can be made available to everyone in some form, regardless of age, disability and frailty within aged care.

About Whiddon and Creative Ageing

Whiddon is a pioneer in the wellbeing and creative ageing field in Australia. Our approach to care and wellbeing at Whiddon is holistic.

Keeping people connected, staying physically and mentally active, participating in meaningful and purposeful activities and feeling part of a community are essential to wellbeing. We use Creative Ageing as part of our approach to care because of the strong connections between the arts and good health, and the lifelong benefits that creative therapies and programs offer to residents in aged care.

From gardening and art, to singing, sharing skills with younger generations and even raising chooks, our award-winning programs support our residents and clients to remain connected and enjoy the things that matter to them.