Building Capacity for Integrating Dance in Long-Term Care

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Melissa Tafler, Arts and Health Program Coordinator

Project Title: Building Capacity for Integrating Dance in Long-Term Care

What is the issue?

Dance is an evidencebased approach to improve the mood and wellbeing of older adults with dementia. It is a drug-free, low-cost activity and it can enhance relationships between caregivers and seniors.  

What did we do?

We worked together with experts at Canada’s National Ballet School to create Sharing Dance Seniors, a dance program for seniors with varying  physical and cognitive challenges . Our goal was to provide seniors with an opportunity to improve their physical, emotional, and social wellbeing. We conducted training programs for dance teachers and non-dance practitionersWe also made improvements to the program to increase seniors’ enjoyment and engagement, such as showing lyrics on screen so they could sing along while dancing.  

What did we find?

We successfully commercialized Sharing Dance Seniors and signed partnership agreements. As a result, seniors living in remote locations are now able to access highquality, professional dance instruction through streaming video. The program also provides recreational therapists with knowledge, confidence, and skills for making dance part of the programming they provide to older adults living in long-term care settings.