Dance class brings elderly with dementia out of isolation

February 07th, 2020
Dance class brings elderly with dementia out of isolation

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A dance class in Nevada, USA, is changing the lives of the elderly with dementia by drawing them out of isolation to establish connections with others.

Dance school Ballroom of Reno partnered with Dementia Friendly Washoe County for the initiative and holds the dance class on Wednesdays for the elderly to attend, as per KOLO 8 News Now on Jan. 29.

Desiree Reid, a ballroom instructor, believes that everyone can dance and that ballroom dancing has helped ground the elderly to be in the moment.

“We joke everyone’s born with rhythm. As long as you’re born with a heartbeat and have two feet, you can dance,” Reid said in the report. “Ballroom dancing, specifically partner dancing, it grounds them and says this is here. This is now.”

Couple Donna and Ron Brown have been attending the dance class for months. As per Donna, she has not only seen a difference in Ron, who has Alzheimer’s, but also in everyone in class.

“It changes everyone’s personality. Everyone is subdued when they come in, and the minute the music starts, everyone is happy,” Donna said in the report. “Everyone is having a good time. So it’s like you just put an hour of the disease behind.”

Meanwhile, Reid added that the physical touch the seniors experience with their dance partners helps bring them out of isolation.

“It’s how we relate,” she said. “It’s why a hug feels good. So we are able to use our hands and connect with people.”

She also said that she has witnessed Ron’s balance getting better, and his walking and being cheerful becoming easier.

“They’re not 80 years old on the inside,” said Reid. “Their brains and their emotions, and their heart, and their need to connect with people, their need to be witnessed, to say someone saw me exist. That’s the same if you’re 5 or [you’re] 85.”  /ra

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