The Positive Impact Art Has On Seniors As They Age

woman painting

When you visit a senior living community for the first time, one thing that will likely catch your eye is how vibrant the lifestyle is. A thoughtfully designed community promotes and encourages the art of living well. One reason why is that research clearly shows engaging in the creative arts can make life more enjoyable at every age. From plein air painting at a local park to taking a pottery or stained glass  workshop, the benefits of art for seniors are numerous.

Equally important are the health advantages participating in arts activities provides. The list of mental health and overall wellness benefits that seniors gain from art is a long one.

The Positive Impact Art Has on Seniors as They Age

Much of the solid research on art therapy began with the Seattle Longitudinal Study in 1956. After following subjects for nearly 50 years, scientists concluded that having a flexible, creative mind is crucial to warding off cognitive decline in your 70s and 80s. It also helps seniors stay healthier over a longer period of time.

When it comes to art therapy and senior wellness, how researchers define creativity is important. They believe that being creative keeps people curious, open to new experiences and more adaptive to change. These are all traits that challenge the mind and keep seniors more active and engaged with life.

Benefits of Art for Seniors

A study conducted through a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and The  George Washington University looked at the role engaging in the creative arts can play in senior health and wellness. Their findings were surprising, even for those who already believed art improves quality of life.

The majority of seniors who participated in the study saw an overall improvement in health, as measured by:

  • Fewer doctor’s visits
  • Reduced number of falls
  • Less use of prescription medications
  • Stronger immune system function

Other research shows that people who actively participate in art projects during retirement are less likely to experience depression and more likely to have a positive outlook on life.

Staying Creative Also Helps Ward Off Dementia

Art therapy might even help you guard against Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia – it is a common therapy in memory care neighborhoods. The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging showed that taking part in creative endeavors stimulates the brain. That’s essential for protecting brain health.

Here’s a quick overview of the study and what researchers found:

  • 256 participants with a median age of 87.3 years were studied for almost four years.
  • None had cognitive impairment as the study commenced.
  • Researchers tracked participants’ engagement in arts and crafts activities and other behaviors.

By the end of the study, researchers spotted several noticeable patterns:

  • 121 participants developed mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
  • Participants who involved themselves in art projects in both middle and old age were 73% less likely to develop MCI than peers who did not.
  • Participants in the same age groups who engaged in craft-style projects were 45% less likely to develop MCI.

It’s research like this that led memory care programs, including the one at Pomperaug Woods, to incorporate arts and crafts activities into daily programming.

Tips for Exploring the Creative Arts

Don’t let the phrase art therapy intimidate you. You don’t need any special training or even any real artistic skills to reap the rewards associated with creative pursuits. A few easy ways to live a more artful lifestyle include:

  • Take a variety of classes: With workshops being offered by organizations ranging from parks and botanical gardens to art supply stores, you’re likely to find a variety of options for taking a class. Many include all the supplies you need in the price. It’s a great way to try your hand at a few different types of art projects. Then you can continue to develop your skills in those you find most enjoyable. If you can’t find any in-person opportunities nearby, sites like YouTube and Skillshare might be of interest.
  • Incorporate art into favorite hobbies: Another idea is to combine some of your favorite hobbies with art-related activities. For example, are you a huge sports fan who never misses a minor league baseball game? Invest in a beginner DSLR camera and try your hand at photography. It’s a visual art that encourages creativity on a variety of fronts. Or you might be a bird lover who sets up trail cameras to watch the feathered occupants in your own neighborhood. Take it a step further by starting a field journal and using colored pencils or watercolor pens to sketch the birds who visit.
  • Don’t limit your view of art: Remember that art takes many forms. It might be researching garden perennials and creating a plan for a new border in your yard. Or it could be purchasing a plan to build raised flower beds, assembling them in your yard, and filling them with vegetables or flowers. Creative writing is another avenue. You could develop an idea for a children’s book and write it, or put together your own screenplay. The intent is to see art as more than just paint and brushes.

A Lifestyle Focused on Maintaining Independence

At Pomperaug Woods, we know that thriving during retirement takes more than just staying busy. The entire community is committed to creating an engaged senior living environment. Each resident has the potential to get involved in life enrichment activities just a few steps away from the door to their private apartment.

From an on-site creative arts studio complete with an experienced instructor to outings to enjoy local dinner theater, museums, opera and more, the opportunities to live a stimulating, artful life are endless. Contact us today to learn more!

Tips for Making a One-Bedroom Apartment More Spacious

Downsizing into a smaller living space doesn’t have to mean sacrificing an open, airy ambiance. Smaller spaces can be inviting and spacious, too.

A common concern among retirees who are considering downsizing into a senior living community is whether they can really fit comfortably into a one-bedroom apartment without feeling cramped. With the right furnishings and a few design tricks, it’s absolutely possible.

At Pomperaug Woods, our thoughtfully designed one-bedroom senior apartments come in a variety of floor plans so you can find the fit and layout that works for you. Once you make your choice, you’ll be ready to begin learning how to make a small apartment feel bigger.

Keep Furniture in Scale


Too much furniture will fill a room quickly, but even smaller amounts of the wrong kind of furniture can make a room feel cramped. Avoid oversized, bulky pieces, and instead opt for furniture that matches the scale and proportion of the room. Favor pieces with sleek lines (as opposed to an overstuffed sofa, for example) to give the appearance of more space. Using furniture that doesn’t extend far off the ground will give the illusion of higher ceilings, and styles that give the appearance of movement, such as exposed legs that allow air and light underneath, create a sense of more openness.

Use Window Treatments Artfully


One of designers’ favorite tips for how to make a small apartment feel bigger is creative use of drapes and other window treatments. Hanging curtains from floor to ceiling gives the illusion of taller ceilings, which opens a room up instantly for a larger, more contemporary feel. Similar to your furniture selections, avoid excessively heavy materials that can have a dimming effect and instead select breezy fabrics that offer an airy allure.

Pay Attention to Your Color Palette


Not only do lighter shades of color lend a sense of calm and serenity, but they also reflect light, making a room instantly brighter and more inviting. This isn’t to say your entire design aesthetic has to be muted; your furnishings and accessories can bring pops of color while you preserve the benefits of a softly hued  backdrop with light-colored elements like walls and window furnishings. You can also bring color into the room with textiles, such as a striped rug with a pale base and strips of vivid color.

Make the Most of Natural Light


Your first inclination may be to flip on an overhead light to brighten a room, but natural light lends a far more appealing ambiance. Overhead lights shine down into a room, making it feel more confined. Conversely, windows allow light to filter across the room, filling space with brightness. During the day, throw back the drapes, open the blinds and let the natural light fill your apartment. Mirrors are an excellent decorative element to pair with windows in a small space; they reflect and bounce the natural light for extra brightness. You may want to also add some table lamps or sconces for cozy illumination in the evenings.

Select Multi-Purpose Furnishings


To get more out of your space, incorporate items that can serve multiple purposes while taking up the same amount of space. For example, side tables that double as storage or nest with a bench seat add practical function that expands your useful space without adding clutter. If space allows, a coffee table with storage is another good choice in the living room. A bookshelf with a fold-out table is another example of how to make a small apartment feel bigger; it adds a useful surface for crafting or even dining that easily stores out of sight.

Find Spacious Apartments for Downsizing


If you’re eager to start tackling some of these ideas for how to make a small apartment feel bigger and transform your new senior apartment into a cozy, inviting retreat, you’ll be happy to hear new residents at Pomperaug Woods receive four hours of moving and downsizing consultation at no charge. You’ll also have the option of customizing the finishes in your residence, so you can create a light, bright and roomy space. Contact us to learn more about available floor plans, and be sure to ask about our move-in specials on one-bedroom apartments.

The Different Levels of Care Offered at Pomperaug Woods

Retirement may be your chance to let loose and enjoy your freedom, but it’s also a time to consider what unknowns the future may bring. Part of creating a responsible retirement plan is settling into a lifestyle that ensures you’re prepared for whatever lies ahead.

A major factor in your future plan is where you’ll live, and if you’re looking for senior care in Southbury, Connecticut, you may be wondering what kind of community is right for you. For many seniors, the answer is a Life Plan Community, also called a continuing care retirement community or CCRC.

Pomperaug Woods is one such Life Plan Community offering senior care in Southbury, CT. In fact, it’s the only community in Southbury offering a Type A LifeCare® contract, the gold standard for senior care.  At Pomperaug Woods, residents have access to a full continuum of care, which ensures access to graduating levels of service within our senior living community, helping residents remain independent longer.

Independent Living

An active and fulfilling retirement doesn’t leave much time for mundane housework, and that’s one of the great advantages of independent living. Residents have the freedom to explore their interests while enjoying a maintenance-free lifestyle and spending time appreciating the art of living. Private one- and two-bedroom apartments and spacious studio floor plans give residents plenty of options to settle into the retirement life that fits them best, with the option to schedule in-home assistance and health services to maintain maximum independence.

Assisted Living

At Pomperaug Woods, you’ll find our approach to assisted living is unique among communities offering senior care in Southbury, CT. Assistance-in-living brings a helping hand into residents’ independent living apartments, allowing them to remain in their comfortable, private surroundings. Customized plans reflect individual preferences and daily routines, all with the idea of providing day-to-day personal care where it’s needed and making autonomy a priority. 

Home Assisted Living offers an additional level of assisted living within residents’ apartments, with additional support tailored to each resident’s unique needs and round-the-clock personal assistance and medical care supervision. Residents enjoy the comfort of familiar surroundings and ability to retain their privacy and independence, while family members appreciate the peace of mind.

Memory Care

Focusing on residents’ abilities and the qualities that make them individuals makes our memory care community an uplifting and fulfilling setting for seniors navigating Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Through Heartfelt CONNECTIONS – A Memory Care Program®, we work to reduce stress and create meaningful, purposeful moments that allow our residents to celebrate each small victory with dignity and pride. 

Skilled Nursing

The Medicare-certified Health Center at Pomperaug Woods is a comforting resource for seniors with skilled medical needs who require ongoing professional care, often as the result of an ongoing health condition or permanent disability. At the Health Center — which has a 5-Star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — clinicians, licensed nurses and therapists work closely with residents, families and physicians. Together, they create customized care plans that provide optimal skilled nursing care along with services that support emotional needs and other aspects of well-being, including participation in The Art of Living, a research-based wellness program.


After a hospitalization or emergent medical event, getting back to your normal self may take a little extra time and effort. That’s what our rehabilitation center provides to seniors in the Southbury area. Our licensed therapists and registered nurses specialize in short-term recovery care, and they guide seniors recuperating from illness, injury, or surgery through each step toward their normal lifestyle. Personalized treatment plans incorporate a variety of therapies to build strength and regain mobility so they can safely resume a familiar routine.

A Community to Call Home Every Step of the Way

Living in a Life Plan Community like Pomperaug Woods means you have priority access to the level of care you need when you need it. Whether you’re in the early stages of retirement and making plans for your extended future, or you or a loved one need more immediate support, we’re here to answer your questions. Give us a call to talk more about your options for senior care in Southbury, CT, and whether independent living or a particular level of care will give you or your loved one the greatest fulfillment and freedom.

Top Benefits of LifeCare® for Seniors

Embracing the unknown gives some people a rush. Setting out on a road trip with no real plan may turn into the adventure of a lifetime. Sampling a new dish with ingredients you don’t recognize — that’s broadening your palate. Finally agreeing to a blind date set up by a close friend could be your chance to discover a new partner for life.

Those are all good reasons to roll the dice and see what happens. Leaving your health and finances to chance are decidedly less so. Retiring in a senior living community that offers LifeCare for seniors is both a safe and a smart plan.

What is LifeCare?


Put simply, and as the name suggests, LifeCare is a guarantee of care services for life. Right now, you might not need any special care at all. You’re generally healthy, active, and looking forward to enjoying all the best that a carefree retirement lifestyle has to offer. The reality is, at some point that will probably change. You might get sick or injured, or maybe – eventually – the hands of time will start to slow you down. That’s not the time to figure out who’s going to help you take care of your health.

With LifeCare you’re assured that you’ll have access to the care you need, in the community you already call home, all at a cost similar to what you agreed to pay when you first moved into your independent living apartment.

What are the Benefits of LifeCare for Seniors?


The idea of care of life is pretty appealing in its own right, but there are actually several more benefits to choosing LifeCare for seniors.

Familiar Surroundings for Life


When you get sick or need extra care for any reason, there’s comfort in being close to home. As a resident of a community that offers LifeCare for seniors, like Pomperaug Woods, when you need additional care, you can get it from people you trust in a place you know well.

Unlimited lifetime access. For healthcare?! Yes, indeed. At Pomperaug Woods, Southbury’s only not-for-profit community offering LifeCare for seniors, you can expect lifetime access to a full continuum of on-site care. That means we’re ready to support you every step of the way, with services spanning senior rehabilitation, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, respite and hospice care.

Predictable Financial Future


Choosing a LifeCare community isn’t just choosing where you’ll receive care for life; it’s choosing how much you’ll pay for it. You can expect to pay an entrance fee, which may be higher than you find at communities without LifeCare — but that’s what keeps your monthly costs predictable, and you’ll have access to healthcare for life at rates lower than you’d pay out of pocket.

Tax Advantages


We’re experts in exceptional senior care, not tax law. But we can tell you this: In most cases, entrance fees and monthly fees count as medical expenses. That means you might be able to receive tax credits for these prepaid long-term care costs. You’ll need a tax consultant to talk you through the details and how it affects you personally, but it’s definitely a benefit worth considering.

Estate Preservation


Many seniors worry about protecting how they’ll provide for their heirs. At Pomperaug Woods, your LifeCare entrance fee is 80% refundable. That’s pretty exceptional asset protection for your estate.

Peace of Mind


A secure plan for the future takes the guesswork out of the future, while giving you the freedom to enjoy the present. Choosing LifeCare ensures you’re setting your own terms for the future, and you’re doing so knowing you and your loved ones can skip past the worry when you need more care. The care you need and the support you deserve will be here if and when you ever need it.

Find Care for Life in New Haven County


Settling into a secure retirement lifestyle doesn’t have to mean you stop chasing adventure. Pomperaug Woods is a beautiful neighborhood-style community in Southbury where you’ll find a maintenance-free lifestyle and predictable monthly fees. We have the practical considerations covered, so you can focus on living your best life and exploring the unknown to your heart’s content, whether that’s here within our 22-acre campus or wherever your imagination takes you.

Apple Bread Pudding

Chef Carol Katy

Apples have a rich history in Irish culture and play a role in many stories within Celtic mythology. It is said that the unmarried person should place one under their pillow to ensure their sleep is filled with dreams of their future spouse. There is a legend that St. Patrick himself planted an apple tree outside of Armagh County, which is now lovingly called Orchard County. Apple cake is a classic dessert enjoyed throughout the country’s pubs. This version is a celebration of Ireland and the apple.

Chef Carol Koty
Food and Beverage Director – Pomperaug Woods

Makes 1 Loaf Pan:

    1 Tbsp. salted butter

    1 cup granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly

    2 Tbsp. brown sugar

    ½ tsp. cinnamon

    2 ½ cups brioche bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

    4 large eggs

    1 cup heavy whipping cream

    ¼ cup pure maple syrup

    2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

    1 Tbsp. cinnamon

    1 Tbsp. Irish whiskey (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a small sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apple slices, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Stirring often, cook until the apples soften, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Place the cubed brioche bread in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy whipping cream, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and Irish whiskey (optional).  Pour the liquid over the cubed bread and allow to soak for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Mist a loaf pan liberally with nonstick pan spray.  Spoon the soaked bread mixture into the loaf pan, filling halfway.  Layer the cooked apple slices over the bread mixture.  Top the apple slices with the remaining amount of bread mixture to fill the loaf pan.
  5. Bake the apple bread pudding until the center is set and reaches 145°F, about 45 to 50 minutes.  Serve warm with ice cream or caramel sauce.  Enjoy!

13 Fun Outdoor Activities for Seniors During the Spring

man golfing

When the temperatures finally start to consistently stay above freezing, the desire to get outside suddenly blossoms like the dogwood, crabapple and redbud trees. And no matter what your age, there are real benefits to doing outdoor activities. It can increase energy, improve memory, encourage physical activity, help fight depression and even boost your immune system.

Spring into These Outdoor Activities for Seniors

After spending months inside looking at leafless trees, here are 13 outdoor activities for seniors that can get you in the fresh air and sunshine this spring.

  1. Dig in the dirt: Gardening is a great way for older adults to stay active and maintain strength and flexibility. Flowers, herbs and produce can be grown in small plots, side yards, raised beds, pots and window boxes.
  2. Instead of just wishing: Fishing off the dock or along the banks of a pond or lake can be a relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors. It doesn’t take a lot of physical effort and it’s a great way to connect with your grandchildren. 
  3. Open-air concerts: Many local organizations put on small music events or outdoor theater showings that are usually free for senior citizens.
  4. Freeze frame: Photography is an artistic activity that you can learn about and get better at over time. And you don’t need an expensive camera — the camera on a smartphone or tablet can take wonderful pictures.
  5. Friendly competition: Simple, portable games like bocce ball, croquet, lawn bowling and lawn darts can turn your yard into a sports arena.
  6. Dine outdoors: Enjoy dining al fresco by packing a picnic basket, firing up the grill or dining on a restaurant’s patio balcony. If you want to have a picnic but don’t have time to plan, pick up a pizza. 
  7. Now showing: Visit interesting sculpture parks, museum art installations and craft exhibitions around town.
  8. Shop outside: A weekly trip to the farmers’ market can be a great way to spend the day and allows you to take an active interest in your diet and health. It’s also a wonderful way to get to know people in the local community.
  9. Community celebrations: There are always community events organized by various  local associations, including car shows, parades and celebrations of civic pride. 
  10. Feathered friends: This soothing and therapeutic activity is ideal for those who want to enjoy and connect with nature.
  11. Go for a drive (and putt): Golfing is a perfect sport for seniors because it’s actually light exercise, and its competitive aspect makes it fun to do with a group. 
  12. Enjoy the sights: If you’ve lived in the same area for a long time, there are probably a lot of interesting sights and places of interest you may have overlooked. 
  13. Do the stroll: A great way to stay active is by taking a walk. You can enjoy a long hike on a path or just take a quick jaunt around the neighborhood. It’s also a great way to get some fresh air and see the sights the environment around you has to offer. If you have a dog, your furry friend is sure to enjoy tagging along and meeting the neighbors.