How art affects persons aged 65 and over: A-Health, an interventional clinical study produced with the help of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Aging is frequently associated with the deterioration of health condition, which in turn can increase the risks of leading a poor quality of life. Practice of art and participation in cultural programs, most specifically participatory art-based activity, has been reported to increase quality of life in all patients of all ages. However, no study has ever been conducted which concerned itself with the quality of life of community-dwelling patients living autonomously at home. As of October 2015, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) has put in place a popular series of participatory art-based activity aimed at communitydwelling elders, the “Thursdays at the Museum.” This artistic creation program features a great variety of activities, such as participative cultural meditation. It thereby presents a unique chance to examine if and how the MMFA’s artistic activities program can impact the well-being, quality of life and health of community-dwelling elders.
- To examine the various characteristics which define the well-being, health and quality of life of participating elders before and after their participation in the MMFA’s artistic activities program
- To examine the compliance to different workshops
- To examine the feasibility of self-evaluating health and quality of life with the help of a Web application, accessible through the Centre of Excellence on Longevity’s online platform
The design was a pre-post single arm, prospective and longitudinal design.
The follow-up period was 3 months, that is to say the duration of one session of the MMFA’s participatory art-based activity program.
Confirmation of positive effects of art on the well-being and quality of life of elders The improvement of both these variables happened at varying rates during the three month session:
An increase in well-being was noted after each workshop, no matter the number of workshops attended
A progressive increase in well-being took place throughout the three-month session
Efficiency with regard to community-dwelling elders
For the first time, increase in health condition was recorded
The various participatory art-based activity workshops given by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts demonstrated positive multidimensional effects on the health of community-dwelling elders. These results confirmed that museums could potentially become key partners in public health policy initiatives aiming to improve the health of the elderly.
In 2019 the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Foundation of the Jewish General Hospital and the Centre of Excellence on Longevity will continue to collaborate, so as to confirm these results on an international scale with the help of a controlled randomized trial (A-Health RCT) foreshadowing the creation of the Montreal Arts & Longevity Lab, a pioneering research body dedicated to the study of the effects of art upon health.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA)
Foundation of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Foundation of the Jewish General Hospital