February 19, 2020

The Play Must Go On


 As loved ones age, they may experience status loss, financial difficulties, loneliness and isolation.  Difficulties in adaptation to social life, increases chronic diseases, and accelerates a decline in physical abilities.  The objective of San Antonio’s senior centers is to provide elderly people with a healthy environment and to help meet their social and psychological needs.  These centers are strategically located throughout the city.  According to a study that investigated risk factors for depression, depression rates were higher among women, divorcees, people living alone, and among those having no social outlets (Nahcıvan & Demirezen, 2005).  


Diagnosis and treatment of geriatric depression is crucial because along with other physical and cognitive declines, untreated depression can severely decrease the quality of life.  In order to increase the quality of life among elderly persons, cognitive therapy is essential. However, since depression symptoms can vary according to age-groups, different diagnostic and treatment procedures may be relevant and useful with older persons. For instance, group therapy was followed by improved depression and social functioning in outpatient scenarios.  Along with the quality of life, psychosocial well-being of the elderly is crucial.  Life review therapy, reminiscence therapy, or memoir sharing are some group intervention models that are used to empower and improve the psychosocial well-being of the elderly (Peck, 2001; Tufan, 2007).


Watch Below, The Play Must Go On w/ Dr. Doug Heath: 


Acclaimed actor Tony Plana is having the time of his life helping seniors improve their quality of life through the arts.  What began as a desire to help those in their "second childhood" engage in more play has transformed into a curriculum-based national model to help seniors explore and develop their imaginations, improve their self-esteem, and empower them through therapeutic interventions.  “Seniors in Play is a dream come true for me,” says Tony. I’m 66 years old and I’m still working as an actor…and I still love what I do.”  His vision for “Seniors in Play” is to bring the joy he’s experienced through his career to those who haven’t had the same opportunity.   Seniors in Play is a generational and curriculum-based group therapy approach and political leaders in San Antonio are strongly committed to making it a national model.  Each of the participants are given roles that fit their creative capacity — and get to actively see their work come to fruition in a final performance.


Seniors in Play (SIP) encourages seniors to think critically, communicate effectively, work collaboratively and embrace their own personal voice. Seniors explore the dramatic process from idea to page to stage while developing the life skills necessary for personal effectiveness and social connectivity. As our nation continues to age the need for group therapies will increase.  Considering the cost of individual therapy, group work therapies will be more cost- and resource efficient. In this respect, studies on group therapies should also be expanded.  It is Tony Plana’s vision that the SIP model in San Antonio will be implemented in senior centers nationally.  The play must go on!



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