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Creativity Is Ageless

14 October 2012

From Psychology Today:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011 there were more than 40 million Americans 65 years and older, approximately 13.3 % of the total U.S. population.  The over 65 age category is the fastest growing category in the country, with forecasts that by 2050 this group will account for more than one in five Americans 88.5 million seniors. And the good news is  that there is a growing body of evidence that creativity need not decline with age.

. . . .

But there is now a growing body of evidence that the aging brain may be more creative and capable of innovation than younger brains.

Dr. Gary Small, professor of psychiatry and director of the UCLA Center on Aging, “There are neuro-circuitry factors that can favor age in terms of innovation”.  One of the key elements in this equation is empathy—a mental and emotional capacity that is learned and refined as we age.  Dr. Small also indicates that an aging brain can “…better tease out patterns and see the big picture.”

So, whatever your age pull out your creative muscle and create, like 86 year young poet Barbara Hubbard did last month. Nestled on her houseboat in the Bay Areain a interview Hubbard shared My inspiration for my first full length novel, Beyond Bitterroot began with a series of linked short stories.” However, she explained, “While I worked on the stories, new material continued to emerge and I realized that what I had crafted was not a collection of short stories, but a novel.”

Link to the rest at Psychology Today

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6 Comments to “Creativity Is Ageless”

  1. Wouldn’t mind aging so much (better than the alternative) except that ‘research’ also shows that if you reach 85, you have a 50% chance of having dementia.

    Now, if they can just figure out how to make sure you end up in the right half, and it’s not something you’re just born with, THAT would be news.

    • ABE, I just finished reading “The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind.” The book dovetails nicely with this post, but it also offers recommendations for keeping your brain in good shape. The recommendations boil down to physical exercise, a diet full of fruits and vegetables, and mental exercise to stimulate your brain. Education also offers a protective effect against Alzheimer’s. The book cites examples of people who function so well no one realizes they have the disease until after they die.

  2. Cool!

    I feel more creative in my fifties than I did when I was a young adult. Then I was more oppressed by rules and “should’s” and “what if I make a mistake?”

    Now I know that rules are sometimes guidelines, “should” rarely prospers, and mistakes happen, so what? The freedom has shaken loose my access to a well I couldn’t reach before.

  3. I’ve always known I would begin to write in mid-life, and continue evolving as I grew older. I think I knew I needed that time to forumalate and learn what I wanted to say!

    I find youthful creativity to be fresh and energetic, sometimes exciting. But more mature creativity tends to be deeper, more controlled and wiser.

    Of course, these are generalizations! People have their unique offerings to give to the world, whatever age.

    • Very eloquently put. I could not agreed more. Writing is a career path that is acceptable to begin later in life.

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