Power of art: Can creative activities help us stay young?
18 March 2013 Last updated at 21:24 GMT
The world's population is aging. By 2030, one in eight people will be 65 or older and they can expect to live much longer.
But chronic disease will mean those last years may be spent coping with sickness and disability. Health costs are expected to soar.
Alzheimer's alone will likely afflict 13.2 million Americans by the middle of the century. Scientists around the world are trying to find new and cheaper ways to help people stay well while growing old - and they're studying the therapeutic effects of art.
In the fifth instalment of the Power of Art series, Jane O'Brien explores the power of art and aging.
Produced for the BBC by Jane O'Brien and Allen McGreevy