Thesis Title

Amplified Voices: Art-Based Inquiry Into Elder Communication

Graduation Date

Spring 2016

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Art Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


Older adults’ communication is at risk due to limitations resulting from age-related health issues and ageist stereotypes; their voices are silenced or dismissed. Elder voices need to be reintroduced into public discourse. This study investigated the experiences of those who communicate and interact in elder care settings. Participants in this study created individual digital art pieces representing their communication experiences and participated in verbal interviews about communication. A group of older adult participants worked with the researcher to examine the data and created a mural as part of the research. The findings of this study confirmed that older adults are able to create images about their communication experiences and supported the use of mural projects as engagement in elder care settings. The findings have implications for elder care and the field of art therapy.