Aims: A growing body of research literature features the provision of arts experiences for the older person but less attention has been given to those who are in the early years of retirement. This qualitative study aims to contribute to the existing field through exploring the contribution that creativity, in the form of active participation in the arts, can make upon the older person’s transition to retirement. Methods: A total of 15 recently retired people in a Scottish town were invited to participate in a qualitative project which explored, using the creative arts, the participants’ psychological and social experiences during this period of transition. The emphasis was on participants’ active, rather than passive, involvement in different art modalities. An action research methodology was adopted, involving a circular flexible design. Qualitative information was generated through focus groups, participant observations and group discussions with participants attending arts workshops. Participants were also invited to record their thoughts and observations anonymously in written form. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Two co-researchers, who were recently retired people from outside the community, took part as participant observers. Results: Key findings indicated that the need to feel challenged and stimulated was paramount for feelings of wellbeing. The feeling of belonging to a community was considered important and could be derived from creative arts activities. Psychological and social benefits of arts participation were derived from active participation, primarily in creating original work. Conclusion: Participants had disparate experience of arts but were united in their search for creative fulfilment. Implications for appropriate provision were considered.
- older person creative arts