a person participates in a meaningful activity or interaction with any element of his/her environment
the Whole Person and his/her desire to live a meaningful life
Produces an action that ENCOURAGES an Elder to participate in meaningful interactions with his/her environment
(Erikson et al., 1986: Kivnick & Stoffel, 2005)
The Aging, Wellness and the Arts™(AWA) model was developed in 2009 to address the debilitating despair and loneliness often found in communities of older adults who are isolated, experiencing illness and depression and whose health, mobility or economic circumstances result in very low social engagement (Duncan Davis, 2009). AWA’s approach is modeled after the Creativity and Aging study conducted by the late Dr. Gene Cohen. In 2013, Helen Kivnick (PhD., Professor of Social Work at the University of Minnesota) and Linda Duncan Davis (Gerontologist) founded an informal collaboration to enhance creative wellness among residents living in 90 Affordable Senior Housing Communities. The two recognized the potential complementarity of their two approaches and combined them to create the Art, Wellness and Vital Involvement in Aging™ (AWVIA) model. This model is grounded in the longstanding principle of Vital Involvement (VI), defined as meaningful reciprocal engagement with the world outside of the self (Erikson et al., 1986; Kivnick, 2005; Kivnick, 2010; Kivnick & Pruchno, 2010; Kivnick & Stoffel, 2005; Kivnick & Wells, 2014).
Living a Meaningful Life Promotes:
*Increased quality of life
added to the community
on low-income older adults. The primary goal of this research is to test and quantify the efficancy of the Art, Wellness and Vital Involvement in Aging™ (AWVIA) model using music program delivered to low-income older adults living in affordable housing communities.
This research was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
This model may be used with all art forms and in different populations.
Further research is planned.
Service Coordinators trained in Vital Involvement sent qualitative narratives to the University of Minnesota to be coded and analyzed. The identifiers for health promoting, meaningful endeavors were shared directly with the Service Coordinators to enhance their work.
Below read the final study report as sent to the National Endowment for the Arts and written by LinChiat Chang, Ph.D., the Primary Investigator of the study.
The Study report can also be found on the NEA Website and
Autonomic Nervous System: A part of the nervous system that regulates key involuntary functions of the body, including the activity of the heart muscle; the smooth muscles, including the muscles of the intestinal tract; and the glands.
Creative Aging: Older adults engaging in the practice of the creative arts in any form and in any capacity.
Gerontology: The branch of science that deals with aging, problems that may be associated with aging and the promotion of opportunities that promote good health in aging.
HUD: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
HUD 202 Affordable Senior Housing: Government subsidized housing for low-income persons 62 and older who live independently.
Service Coordinators: Link people to supportive services and other community resources which will contribute to continued good health and independence in aging (Many HUD 202 communities employ a Service Coordinator).
Vital Involvement Meaningful engagement with the world outside of self. (Erikson et al., 1986: Kivnick & Stoffel, 2005)