This is Maria; she has stage three dementia. She has trouble remembering, orienting herself, and on a bad day, she even has outbursts.
Her caregiver, Stephanie Collin said, “On an off day, there can be yelling, screaming, constant pasting.”
Stephanie cares for Maria deeply and so she decided to try something new.
One day, she took Maria to a program at their local library which uses a unique to help those with dementia – dancing.
Stephanie says the difference is night and day. “It’s like she’s renewed, she’s energised. She feels good.”
But this benefits of dancing for dementia patients isn’t a fairytale. In fact, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that dancing dramatically reduces the occurrence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, not just any dancing will do; freestyle dancing is the best as it requires constant split-second, rapid-fire decision making, which is the key to maintaining intelligence because it forces your brain to regularly rewire its neural pathways, giving you greater cognitive reserve and increased complexity of neuronal synapses.
Frequent freestyle dancing was shown to reduce the risk of dementia by 76 percent—twice as much as reading—and playing sports or practicing choreographed dance sequences which had no benefit at all.
One trainer at the dance therapy said, “Many of the dancers are folks who normally can barely stand. But by the end of the program, they can mambo.”
Well done to Stephanie for helping Maria find something that can finally make a difference in her life!
Want to give dancing a go for yourself? To check out the Dance Movement Therapy Association of Australasia, click here.
Watch this video to see what the therapy is like…