Dance and Dementia

Contact name

Jody Morgan

Contact

01606 861 770

Aimed at

It is estimated that by 2021, the number of people with dementia in the UK will have increased to around one million and the cost to the NHS about £23 Billion. Creative dancing is the most effective intervention to reduce the risk of dementia onset, achieving a 76% risk reduction score.

At Cheshire Dance, we provide opportunities for individuals living with Dementia to live in the moment and to engage physically, socially and emotionally through movement and dance.

Of all the art forms, dance is unique in placing the body and it’s lived experience as the site of exploration and art-making. Therefore, it offers opportunities for all participants to connect to their physical-selves, to discover or rediscover their bodies, to pay attention to sensation and to connect to others throughout this process in a way that no other art form does.

Although Cheshire Dance does not consider dance as a therapy, the art form itself has inherent therapeutic properties which enhance the art form benefits, enabling participants to experience wide ranging health benefits; “In contrast to physiotherapy or exercise based models, dance offers auditory, visual, tactile and somato-sensory stimulation, musical experience, social interaction, emotional perception and interaction, memory and motor learning.” (Scholl, 2013, p.5)

Particularly when working with older people with dementia, whose cognitive powers may be diminishing, dance offers an opportunity to connect with individuals through a physical, lived body experience, irrespective of their ability to communicate verbally.

The Benefits of Dance for Older People:

  • Dance is a social activity that helps maintain cognitive function, reduces cardiovascular risk and the risk of falls.
  • Evidence from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine showed that dance was the single most effective preventative health measure against dementia (76% risk reduction) because of its combined physical, cognitive and social aspects.
  • Improved balance, co-ordination and general fitness that can be lost as we get older.
  • Sense of social and cultural identity, a feeling of belonging to a group of people with a shared interest.
  • Support in mental health and well being
  • Enhances falls prevention

Dance is recognised as providing therapeutic benefit, it is a form of release and means of expression, using simple creative movements allows people to express something of their individuality.

For more information on the Dance & Dementia Programme at Cheshire Dance, please contact jody@cheshiredance.org.

 

 


 

See all our work connected to Dance and Older Adults, as well as our artists and partners that work with us on these projects.

To find event for older people, click here.

“I tell everyone that my dancing is helping me and I practice at home with my husband and grand kids. You don’t make me feel scared to ask for help and you say I can never get it wrong. I don’t remember everything anymore but it’s ok because I don’t have to when I’m dancing. I just enjoy it – it’s a god save. I don’t feel alone anymore...dancing has given me my confidence back.”

Dance and Dementia

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