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.
AdvertisementA 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.
It 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 classes.
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 and Practice 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.