Whether you’re making music, painting a portrait, or sitting back to watch one of Shakespeare’s classics, engaging with art is among life’s greatest joys – and researchers say it’s also a key factor in staying sharp as an older adult.

Flexing your creative “muscles” offers a mental workout, according to Dr. Roger E. Beaty, director of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Creativity Lab at Penn State University.

“Creativity requires cognitive effort,” he explains. “It’s a dynamic interplay between the brain’s memory and control systems. Without memory, our minds would be a blank slate … but without mental control, we wouldn’t be able to push thinking in new directions.”

When you practice creative thinking – even in small ways, like putting a new spin on a family recipe – you use the hippocampus, the “memory center” of the brain that helps you envision past events. Over time, that process can reinforce neural connections and boost your cognitive function.

The good news is, you don’t have to be a lifelong artist to enjoy those benefits – no matter your age or experience level, it’s never “too late” to get creative.

Here are three easy ways to start:

  • Pick up a creative hobby. If you love to read, try penning a short story. If you’re a lover of music, consider taking piano lessons. You may also consider joining a local choir, class or club. Like many of the best things in life, art can be even better when shared with friends.
  • Pursue new experiences. In search of new ideas? Consider taking inspiration from the greats. Visiting a local museum or attending a musical performance may provide just the creative spark you’ve been looking for.
  • Try a fresh perspective. It’s well-documented that taking a walk in nature can help kick-start the inventive side of the brain, making it easier to draw connections and change perspectives – and traveling to new places can spur your imagination, too.

At The Mayflower, we’ve always believed in the importance of artistic engagement … in fact, that’s one of the many features that sets our community apart.

With historic downtown Winter Park just minutes away, you’ll find abundant opportunities to experience the city’s world-class art and culture … as well as an array of stimulating classes and lectures right on our campus. Most of all, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing everything – from home maintenance to long-term healthcare – is taken care of, giving you the freedom to do what you love.

If it’s time to consider some creative options for your future, there’s no better place to start than The Mayflower. Come see our selection of stylish – and surprisingly affordable – apartment residences, the perfect home base to explore all the best Winter Park has to offer.

To learn more about The Mayflower (and our Bristol Landing expansion, now under construction) send us a message or give us a call at 407.672.1620. We look forward to hearing from you!