We all know how wonderful dancing can make us feel. Whether we’re dancing at a party or grooving along to the radio in the kitchen. It releases endorphins, gives you a great work out and brings a smile to your face too.
The older generation were brought up on dancing. With no internet to help them find a partner, being a great dancer was the best way to get a date. Many older adults were very talented movers in their day.
Although they might not be able to jive like they used to, that doesn’t mean older people shouldn’t be encouraged to groove their cares away. Dance events can be regularly held in care homes as a way to promote wellbeing, build confidence and engage residents. They are an important way of promoting wellbeing whilst encouraging friendships and having fun.
Here are just a few of the proven benefits dance can have for older people:
Time and again, dance has proven to be one of the best ways to improve muscle strength and combat muscle loss that comes with age. Dance can also improve balance and coordination, making people less likely to fall and injure themselves too.
A recent study found that people who relied upon pain medicines for knee and hip discomfort were able to reduce their amount of medication as a result of a dance programme. The programme lasted 12 weeks, and by the end, participants were able to reduce their pain relief medicine by over a third (39%).
It’s well known that exercise can help reduce the risk of developing dementia. But dance appears to be one of the best forms of exercise for this. Experts believe that the combination of cardiovascular exercise and quick decision-making challenges the neural network, causing it to forge new pathways and thereby stave off mental decline.
Dancing can be done alone, but it’s much more fun in a group. People who take part in dance classes, or any other form of group dance activity will make new friends and become more involved in their care home communities. These social connections are increasingly important as we age, and can help us to stay supported and included also.
Numerous studies have proven that dance can be beneficial for staving off depression and anxiety. Healthy, mood boosting endorphins will be released with any type of exercise, but because dance is a social activity too, this is augmented to give dancers a really positive boost following their session.
One of the greatest things about dance is that anyone can join in. We might not all be able to pirouette like Darcey Bussell, but there is a dance for everyone and everyone is welcome to dance. Parkinson’s, dementia, cancer, heart disease, arthritis… none of these issues will stop anyone from dancing, so if your residents could benefit from busting a move, grab them by the hand and dance!