Creative Aging Training in Korea

September 27, 2018

In Korea, there are over 725,000 people living with dementia. In 2030, this number will increase to 1.2 million and in 2050 to 2.7 million people. So, how can the arts be applied to improve the quality of life of older adults in general and older adults with dementia in particular?

In July/August of 2018, Like Lokon (OMA Founder and Director) traveled to Korea, along with Jorge Merced (Pregones Theater in New York City), to present best practices in Creative Aging.

The workshop, “Building Capacity: Aging Creatively in the Community,” was sponsored by Korea Arts and Culture Education Service (KACES), which is funded by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. Forty-eight Korean teaching artists participated in two consecutive three-day intensive training sessions.

The training was located at the Halla Human Resources Development Center in Yongin-si, which is located about 20 miles south of Seoul.

Topics covered in the training included:

  • An overview of the philosophy and history of Creative Aging including a review of seminal studies
  • The impact of rapidly aging societies around the world and specifically in Korea
  • A detailed analysis of the principles of working with people who have dementia
  • A look at the World Health Organization’s call for Age Friendly Cities, and it’s potential application to Korea

Participants explored their dual role as artists and teachers. They learned how to adapt their teaching methodology to include Creative Aging principles. They became more adept at changing their use of language when collecting oral histories, which were used as a basis for creating original plays.

Most importantly, they learned how to provide constructive feedback so that others’ creative expression may be enhanced, regardless of their age or cognitive abilities.

“Creative Aging is a society-wide need requiring solutions that are resource and time intensive. Participants proved they are ready for the task. This is an extraordinary opportunity for public-private partnership to elevate the quality of life for older adults, caregivers and society through the arts, not just in Korea, but the rest of the world,” said Merced and Lokon.

One training participant mentioned, “It’s a new frontier area and it’s very exciting.”

Visit the Art 365 website to view the full article in Korean here.

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Meghan Young

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