Therapeutic dance sessions to reduce isolation in care homes

Hannah Robertshaw
Hannah Robertshaw
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THERAPEUTIC dance and music sessions will be brought into care home in an effort to reduce the loneliness and social isolation felt by residents.

Yorkshire Dance’s three-year project, In Mature Company, will see the company work with nine care homes around Leeds to explore the impact of touch as a therapeutic element of dance in reducing loneliness felt by people with dementia.

Its newly-recruited team of six musicians and dance artists will lead up to 180 sessions per year, and will include movement, singing, storytelling and conversation. Residents’ families, friends and volunteers will be encouraged to join in.

Programmes director of Yorkshire Dance, Hannah Robertshaw, said: “In Mature Company is a really important addition to the range of work we’ve been developing with older adults in recent years, all over Yorkshire.

“We’ve taken primary school children into care homes in Sheffield to dance with the residents. We’ve led a two-year programme called Young at Arts which tackled social isolation in Leeds by engaging older adults with a range of creative arts activities. We’ve developed a long-running partnership with the University of Leeds to study the health and well-being benefits of dance for older adults. And most importantly, we’ve created hundreds of opportunities for older adults to come together and have a joyful experience of being and moving together.”

The project will also use Dementia Care Mapping – an observation technique developed at the University of Bradford – to help understand the impact of their sessions.