Dance/Movement Therapy Improves the Quality of Life for People with Dementia
European Association for Dance/Movement Therapy Conference, Milan, September 2016 with Dr. Richard Coaten and myself
In today’s Memory Cafe at the Newton Senior Center, there was complete consensus: dance/movement therapy rocks. To a person in this 20-person group, dancing and moving together, whether sitting or on our feet, in 1 hour, we managed to create a cohesive group where every person felt good about expressing themselves. The smiles abounded. People were lively, silly, and appreciated the opportunity to play. As I often say, it’s not fair that only children get to play. Childhood is short, and life, if we’re lucky, is long. It’s way too long if we don’t allow ourselves to play. One woman told me she didn’t think she ever played like we did today as a kid, and she recognized the benefit for both her body and mind.
Why is it so important to dance with people with dementia? It is good for body, heart, mind and soul. Here’s a video about why I think it’s crucial to offer dance to people with advanced dementia and embodied caregiving every day.
An article I’ve written,”Improving Quality of Life for People with Dementia through Dance/Movement Therapy”, provides an in-depth look at what a dance/movement therapy group with people with dementia might look like. It will be coming out the end of October in the International e-journal Creativity & Human Development, a special issue on Creative Aging and will be free for individuals not affiliated with a universities or organizations. www.creativityjournal.net
November 5-6, I will be leading a 15-hour training to Bring Dance to People with Dementia. The training will provide experiential structures with some didactic, intended to teach the skills to engage, inspire and uplift older adults and people with dementia through dance and expressive movement. We will explore a bit of theory, best practices, ways to structure, and most importantly how to best embody sensitivity for this population. The training will be at Bridges by Epoch, 140 University Ave, Westwood, MA 02090. Early bird registration ends Oct. 14. Learn more and register here.
National Center for Creative Aging
September 26, 2016, 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm, Washington, D.C.