Dancing and music will ease dementia

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Elderly people with dementia are stereotyped as passive and inactive. It is believed that there is no way to fundamentally change their condition. However, researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand undertook to prove the opposite.

Lead author of the study, Ting Chu, a graduate of Dance Studies Masters, said she wanted to improve the quality of life for patients with dementia by stimulating memory , boosting her mood, and enhancing social interaction.

Researchers used familiar music and natural gestures from a group of 22 participants with dementia to create an original series of dance exercises. Running over 10 weekly sessions, the program of intuitive rethinking of movements (intuitive dances) brought people back to humor, imagination and intuition, which encouraged them to dance and communicate with joy.

The results of a study published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias show that a significant improvement in quality of life came, on average, after the sixth session.

“They were very responsive to music and enthusiastic in their movements, regardless of physical limitations. Positive responses, such as memories, spontaneous dances and jokes with each other, were observed in each session. These observations, of course, completely changed the prevailing belief that patients with dementia are extremely passive and apathetic. Music stimulates their reaction much better than verbal instructions,” says Ms. Chu.

Currently, scientists intend to expand the experimental study, finalizing and expanding the program of intuitive dances to better meet the needs of participants.

Ms. Chu believes that the use of art, including painting, music, theater and dance, is underestimated in the clinical field due to the lack of standardized protocols and consistent research results.

“As a former dancer and current dance teacher, I recognize the modest role of art, as well as the minor therapeutic effects of music and dance in dementia. We are not talking about treatment. However, we see a chance to truly improve the lives of people affected by this ailment, ”she says.

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