Moving ‘n’ grooving to improve memory

Residents at a Bolton Clarke aged care home have been shaking their booties to boost brain health.

Residents at a Bolton Clarke aged care home have been shaking their booties to boost brain health.

The aged care provider has been running a research-based dance therapy program at its Darlington site in the New South Wales town of Tweed Heads – the aim of which is to support the brain health of residents living with conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Darlington lifestyle coordinator Kelly Gawthorne said the dance therapy sessions offered far more than just exercise. “It’s not only about physically moving – it’s about the recognition of the dance moves for each song and skills behind it.”

The dance classes – described as interactive memory lessons – have proved to be popular. Since the program began, attendance has doubled from 10 participants to 20.

“It’s been so well received by everybody and that’s why we now hold classes every week, alternating between the whole home and then the memory support unit,” said Ms Gawthorne.

Monique Feain – a certified dance instructor for people living with Parkinson’s – said she enjoyed seeing the residents respond so positively, especially those who don’t usually take an interest in activities. “I love the fact that, for residents in memory support, I get to see participation from those who would normally not engage much.”

For resident Kevin McGrath, the dance therapy sessions bring back a lot of fond memories. “My friends and I used to go to dances a lot when we were younger, and that’s how I met my wife.”  

The classes also help brighten people’s moods, said Mr McGrath. “I love the music – a good sing-a-along is always a good time and the physical exercise, it lightens anyone’s day.”

Bolton Clarke intends to expand the dance therapy program to other local aged care homes, retirement villages and the broader local community.

Main image: a dance therapy session at Bolton Clarke Darlington

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Tags: bolton clarke, kelly gawthorne, monique feain,

1 thought on “Moving ‘n’ grooving to improve memory

  1. I can say that therapy can be a powerful tool for individuals to address their mental and emotional well-being and it’s important to approach therapy with an open mind and willingness to work on oneself.

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