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Creativity in old age (Psychologist Natalia Bulkina)

Total population aging is a problem facing humanity in the 21st century. With the increasing number of elderly people in society, scientists increasingly see creativity as an important component of the process of successful aging. Creativity contributes to the mental and physical health of older people, boosts self-confidence, and increases self-esteem. Creativity is a universal phenomenon that has always been present in human life; it involves the development of a new product, idea or solution to a problem of value to an individual and/or social group. D. Guilford, one of the founders of the psychology of creativity, explained creativity in terms of originality/novelty and relevance/adaptability or appropriateness to the task [1]. M. Csikszentimihalyi noted that people are in a state of excitement, emotional lift, or flow during creative activities; time flies by unnoticed for them. [2].

The potential health benefits of creativity for the elderly include maintaining mental clarity, increasing spiritual experience, resolving long-standing conflicts, adapting, improving emotional well-being, and physically healing [3]. Gerontologists believe that creativity plays an important role in the second half of a person's life, giving it meaning, adding energy, helping to realize internal needs and desires, thereby increasing subjective well-being [4]. A study of elderly musicians aged 65-94 showed that the subjects considered themselves to be healthy, despite arthritis and other pronounced impairments. It is likely that regular participation in creative activities contributes to a sense of well-being [5] and has a positive therapeutic effect [6].

Despite the inevitable decline in physical and cognitive abilities, creativity in old age is possible and useful for all people, regardless of their level of creativity [7], and forms of creativity can be very diverse. In interviews older people noted that they enjoy not only the result of creativity, but also the creative process, accompanied by interest, joy, a sense of fullness of life.


  • Guilford J. P. (1950). Creativity. American Psychologist, 5: 444–454.

  • Csikszentimihalyi M. (1997). Happiness and creativity: Going with the flow. The Futurist, 31(5): 8-13.

  • Beck C. (2005). Creative elderhood, What’s art got to do with it? Retrieved from:

  • Cohen G.D. (2001). Creativity with aging: four phases of potential in the second half of life. Geriatrics, 56(4): 51-57.

  • Kahn A.P. (1998). Healthy Aging: A Study of Self-Perceptions of Well-Being. Ph.D. diss., Union Institute.

  • Adams-Price C.E. (Ed.). (1998). Creativity and successful aging. New York: Springer.

  • Richards R. (2010). Everyday creativity: Process and way of life − four key issues. In J. Kaufman, R., Sternberg (Eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity. 189-215. Cambridge University Press.


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