Cognitive aging: why we need creativity to increase cognitive preservation
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School of Health and Human Development, Department of Medical Sciences and Health & Comprehensive Health Research Centre, University of Évora, Évora, Portugal
Submission date: 2020-12-28
Final revision date: 2021-06-23
Acceptance date: 2021-06-24
Online publication date: 2021-09-28
Publication date: 2021-09-28
Health Psychology Report 2022;10(4):257–265
In general terms, aging is associated with a decline in cognitive skills. Nevertheless, researchers are aware of the existence of persons quickly losing cognitive skills during aging, in contrast to others whose skills are preserved. Consequently, an increasing amount of research in the last years has been devoted to individual differences in decline and possible factors affecting cognitive preservation. Creative engagement seems to play a role as a protective factor against cognitive decline in the elderly.

Material and methods:
The current correlational study aims to analyze individual differences in terms of cognitive skills in elderly persons engaged or not engaged in creative daily activities. It is hypothesized that creative activities are correlated with higher preservation of cognitive skills in elderly persons. 80 elderly non-institutionalized persons living in the Alentejo region (Portugal) took part voluntarily in this study; 40 of them were male elderly (N = 40, ages from 65 to 90 years) and 40 were female elderly (N = 40, ages from 65 to 89 years). Cognitive skills were assessed with the Mini-Mental State Examination.

The results seem to show that creative activities are negatively correlated with cognitive decline in female and male elderly persons. The results of this study seem to emphasize the importance of activities of creative production and expression in the preservation of cognitive functions.

These results suggest the importance of creativity for cognitive preservation and the need to produce innovative strategies to increase and support creative production and expression in elderly persons.

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