ArtOnTheBrain: Online Art Gallery Tours and Recreation for Older Adults

Woman sitting in a yellow chair

Award Date: 2017

Project Lead(s): Kelly Murphy, Psychologist

Project Title: ArtOnTheBrain: An inclusive evidence-based cognitive health app for older adults to promote aging at home

What is the issue?

Research shows that recreational activities improve mood and reduce the risk of dementia in older adults. ArtontheBrain is a visual art recreation activity for seniorsincluding those with cognitive impairmentsensory loss, and age-related chronic health problems. It allows them to tour famous art galleries online and share stories and comments about works of art with others 

What did we do?

We tested ArtontheBrain with older adults, including some with cognitive decline and low vision. The study sites three sites in Toronto and the greater-Toronto area, one in Calgary, and one in Boston. We tested the product among individuals, partners, and groups of seniors. In a randomized controlled trial, we compared ArtontheBrain with an online game for seniors and to no art program. We collected data at two sites in Ontario.  

What did we find?

Older adults, including those with low vision and cognitive decline enjoyed using ArtontheBrain. The product adapted to users’ preferences and abilities and performed well for individual users, partners, and groups. Residents in long-term care settings showed improved wellbeing after using the productThe magnification tool was an important feature for people with low vision. In the trial, ArtontheBrain performed as well as the online game. Clinicians found it easy to use and said it was a valuable addition to their recreational programming.