A popular Mexican street dance has now been
shown to improve the behavior and enhance the moods of dementia patients.
Patients with dementia are often unable to
think properly enough to carry out their normal activities including eating or
getting dressed. They also find it difficult to solve simple problems or
control their emotions. They become agitated easily and tend to see things that
do not exist. Memory loss is one of the main features of dementia.
A simple Latin ballroom-style dance, known as
"Danzon", which is very popular in Mexico, has been introduced to the
North-East care homes by Dr Azucena Guzman Garcia, who is part of a research
project at the Newcastle University.
The residents of the nursing home were
encouraged to do a few simple steps to
uplifting Danzon music during dancing classes that lasted for 30 minutes, two
times a week. The classes were always preceded by warm- up sessions.
was revealed that the dancing lessons have helped to improve the cognitive,
behavioral and emotional functions of the dementia patients.
These classes have also helped the patients
to enjoy music and dance, and have enabled them to stay calm.
The dementia patients were able to carry out
social interactions and improve their quality of life. Some patients began to show
interest in dressing smartly and stated that they looked forward to these
Even family members were allowed to
participate in these classes and all this created a lot of happy memories, even
as the patients fondly recollected such fun times during their younger days.
Dr Guzman Garcia published her findings in
the Dementia Journal of Social Science
in which she describes how the street dance, which she learnt
while growing up in Mexico, is being put to use to people with dementia.
Although dancing is considered as entertainment in care homes, Garcia believes
that it can be a more useful practice.