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Dancing & Dementia

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

A senior couple dancing together.

Although some level of cognitive decline may be unavoidable, it can affect people at different ages and progress at different rates. As we get older, our minds and bodies can become our own special projects – meaning we should be dedicating more of our time to keeping our body limber and mind sharp. This is especially important for older adults who have been diagnosed with dementia. Staying active as you age is vitally important not only for physical health but also mental, emotional and cognitive health.

There are several engaging activities that can help incorporate movement into a seniors daily life and that includes the enjoyable activity of dancing. It comes naturally, can be enjoyed anywhere, with anyone and there is no wrong way of doing it. As a matter of fact, dance therapy has been recognized as a psychotherapeutic use of movement by the American Dance Therapy Association.

Physical Benefits

Dancing is a multifaceted physical activity that can help older adults to significantly improve their physical strength, aerobic power, physical endurance, agility, flexibility, balance and gait all while having fun while doing it. Even at the lowest and slowest level of dancing, seniors can easily benefit from partaking in this type of movement therapy.

Mental Benefits

The excitement and joy that appears on a dancer's face is the physical proof that dancing can positively make a difference in a person's mental well-being. It is an effective exercise that can help curb anxious and depressive thoughts by releasing special chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and endorphins, which reduces the stress chemical, cortisol. It is also a great way to escape negative thoughts and worries while you focus on the joy filled movement of dancing. Plus, it can build the self-esteem of aging adults which is very important.

Cognitive Benefits

Dancing may help relieve symptoms of dementia in seniors and help slow the onset for another. Several studies have shown that older adults who regularly enjoy dancing may be reducing their risk of developing dementia by a whopping 76%. Those seniors who are invested in learning dance in a class can reap even more benefits. Learning a dance routine requires the learning of complex motor sequences, procedural memory, greater attention, synchronization in space and time, and emotional expression. Music can also help stimulate pleasant memories in seniors diagnosed with dementia.

Social Benefits

For older adults who are seeking more friendships, dancing is an exciting activity to pursue that can help connect you with people who enjoy similar hobbies. Plus, dance can help people of all ages increase their appreciation and consideration for others, conquer shyness and open them up to new experiences.

Dancing is a great activity to enjoy with friends and family while also reaping the physical and mental benefits that come along with the activity. From building physical strength and boosting mood to stimulating memories and creating new connections, dancing can be life-changing for older adults, their children and even their grandbabies. So get up, turn on your favorite song and dance a little and see first hand how it can benefit your life!


If you enjoyed reading this article and want to discover similar senior lifestyle articles: click here! Or, discover healthy recipes: here!

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