There has been a shift in attitudes regarding aging, health and wellness in the past decade. Theatre, dance, art and storytelling are emerging as part of the compliment of effective approaches to health care.
Involvement in the arts improves mood, reduces social isolation and contributes to overall well-being. Research indicates that people who are physically active, cognitively stimulated and relatively free of anxiety might reduce their risk of dementia. Studies show that the arts, and dance in particular, can help reduce anxiety, depression and agitation in older adults.
How Dance Helps Patients with Dementia
Dancing is one of the best workouts for brain health because it combines physical exercise, cognitive and social engagement. "While all three factors are beneficial alone, together they seem to be the magic bullet," says Dr. Susan Vandermorris, neuropsychologist at Baycrest.
Through support from the Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation, Baycrest has teamed up with Canada's National Ballet School (NBS) to create a specialized health and wellness dance program that provides an opportunity for people with dementia to access dance and enjoy its
benefits. The program is called Baycrest BS Sharing Dance Seniors. "Introducing dance into the long-term care setting offers an opportunity to positively impact cognitive and physical health, self- expression, social cohesion, and deepen creative engagement for individuals with dementia and their caregivers."
says Melissa Tafler, Coordinator of Arts and Health Programs and Arts-Based Learning Specialist at Baycrest. "Often, different genres of music and the accompanying imagery can evoke certain moods and memories for participants, which helps them connect to positive feelings and experiences.
The Baycrest NBS Sharing Dance Seniors initiative not only offers dance classes to long-term care residents at Baycrest, it has also bequn providing this therapeutic dance program through on-demand video streaming from NBS into long-term care homes and community centers around the country. Facilities may choose from one of two streams: a program developed for older adults with dementia or one designed for active seniors, which offers more challenging choreography for those living independently in the community.
Baycrest and BS have also developed a teacher training program to provide experienced dance instructors with the foundational knowledge and skills to facilitate dance within their own communities. Baycrest's expertise in seniors' healthcare combined with BS's excellence in dance programming and teacher training provides a meaningful and safe dance program for this population. The training program teaches dance instructors how to work with people with dementia, why dance is beneficial to seniors and how it is an excellent avenue for communication
Your Health as an Older Adult Is Safe at The Aspen Tree at The Forestias Operated by Baycrest
In addition to boosting your physical well-being, The Aspen Tree at The Forestias finds new ways to care for your overall wellness, boosting your mental health, social engagement, and emotional state too through research-based approaches. The Aspen Tree applies results from successful studies and keeps on developing new ways to ensure your quality of life.
This concept inspires The Aspen Tree at The Forestias, designed and developed with research leaders and Canada’s world-leading Baycrest Crest to meet every need of older adults. You can live in a multigeneration community in The Forestias with comprehensive health and care (Holistic Lifetime Care). Full facilities and the Health & Wellness program enhance your lifestyle with activities such as yoga, swimming, singing, playing music, meditation, outdoor activities, hydrotherapy, and much more to keep your body, mind, and brain in great shape.
The Aspen Tree at The Forestias also has a Health & Brain Center to safeguard your health and wellness. The center’s experts can delay the onset of dementia and provide care to overcome brain and memory problems. A team of healthcare specialists is on hand 24 hours a day to keep you safe and well in every aspect.
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