A celebration to highlight the importance of the arts for a healthy lifestyle is being staged in Cumbria this autumn.
The Art of Being is a weekend festival of workshops in performance arts, dance and creative arts to promote health and well-being benefits for all ages.
It will be held at Scalesceugh Hall near Carlisle on October 7 and 8, and is organised by Dr Anita Herdeiro and her husband Bruno, experts in challenging traditional approaches to ageing.
Classes in Tai Chi, mask making, weaving and story-telling will be available to visitors to the hall, where an estate of luxury retirement homes is being built in the grounds.
“We will be showcasing arts and activities which can contribute to health and well-being,” said Dr Herdeiro. “We want to show doing things that are fun, and being conscious of the fact, being mindful that whatever we interact with contributes positively to our health in mind and body.
“Using the ‘arts’ in all forms – words, music, painting and movement – offers the opportunity to enhance and deepen the sense of well-being. These workshops are the beginning of an encouraging and respectful re-evaluation of ageing and the real needs of older people.”
Scalesceugh Hall is the centre of a revolutionary project which tackles traditional attitudes towards ageing. The new homes on the site are being sold privately, with carers on site to ensure residents can live there for as long as possible, but the Herdeiro’s aim is to turn it into a social enterprise that will become a catalyst for change countrywide.
“We need to tear up the rule book and start again, focusing on individuals not demographics,” said Dr Herdeiro. “If people feel happier and more fulfilled, and more motivated to stay well, it makes them less prone to ill health, and reduces the pressure on overstretched health and care services. Just because someone has retired, doesn’t mean they should give up on their aspirations, or lose their value.”
The Art of Being festival aims to show the way that the arts can help a healthier lifestyle. Dance, for example, can support people living with Parkinson’s disease to develop confidence and strength, says Dr Herdeiro. “It can provide opportunity for creativity and self-expression, while also temporarily relieving some participants of symptoms in everyday life.”
Dr Herdeiro, a GP and health-care expert, has spent many years working with older people and researching into the impact of keeping fit and healthy in later life, and her principles are based on philosophies now being adopted in Scandinavia and Australia.
Visitors to the Art of Being will also have a chance to see the new retirement homes, and the Hall itself, which will have rooms available for the use of buyers – including rooms for fitness classes. Light snacks and drinks will be available.
The event is Saturday and Sunday October 7 and 8. Scalesceugh Hall is at Carleton on the A6 five miles south of Carlisle, near to junction 43 of the M6.