Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Evadne McNeil

Second Advisor

Dottie Cohen


The aging of the populace is causing Americans to consider the ways in which education, medicine, housing, and leisure will be affected by this rapid growth . In this paper I will review some of the literature on aging that delineates the individual differences in physical and mental characteristics of the old . Some of the more prominent theories of the aging process will be presented briefly, with an examination of physical and psychological changes that affect the older person's ability to cope with an environment characterized by multiple loss, both physical and emotional. Myths about how age influences the capabilities of the aging person will be looked at, including what roles society perceives for its oldest citizens. Some sociological implications of earlier and mandatory retirement on leisure activity will be included . The disengagement and activity theories of normal aging are described. The issue of dependency for the elderly and some of the initiating causes of institutionalization will be discussed.

The purpose of examining aging and the principles of art therapy in this paper is to propose that art therapy can be a means of enriching the lives of many old persons who can no longer live in the community . The introduction of art therapy and art activities with institutionalized aged, with the goal of increasing the possibilities for better verbal and nonverbal communication, is explored by the presentation of some case studies of several residents in a Jewish center for aged . Jewish values and perspectives on the care of its elders are reviewed. Some suggestions for appropriate creative activities with older persons are presented.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License