Moving and grooving in Aged Care
A Victorian aged care home has begun holding daily dance sessions, as a way of boosting the health and happiness of residents and staff.
At 10.30 every morning at Bupa Donvale, two minutes of dance music is played over the loud speakers.
Carers, nurses, chefs and even the cleaners stop what they’re doing and get into the spirit, encouraging residents to get their groove on.
“We were trying to think about how we can really brighten up the mornings,” says Bupa Donvale Recreation Activities officer Beth Ward. “We had a discussion in our team meeting, and the idea of having daily dancing was brought up. We weren’t sure how it would be received at first but we gave it a go and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response.”
“Everyone gets into it. The staff, the residents, their families, they all move together. If they can’t dance, they’ll sing, they’ll bop their head, tap their feet, they’ll get involved in any way they can.”
There have been multiple studies supporting the health benefits of dancing on both the body and the brain, particularly as people age.
Director of Medical Services for Bupa Aged Care, Dr Tim Ross, says dancing has a huge range of health and emotional benefits.
The old saying is true, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
"As people age, they tend to move less which can lead to loss of muscle condition and increased thinning of the bones. If people are up and dancing, even for a short period they’re likely to be weight bearing which is great for bone strength and strengthening their muscles,” he says.
“Music is also great for releasing positive endorphins, and the physical contact involved with dancing with someone has strong social benefits.
Ms Ward says the activity has brought residents and carers closer together.
“The morning dancing has been great for the general sense of community and bonding within the home, as it bringing staff and residents closer together,” she says.
“We’ve noticed that since starting the program, residents have more energy in the mornings, and are generally more enthusiastic to become involved in their daily activities.”
“I have had really great feedback. I get told that people really look forward to the 10.30 song, that it brings back memories from their childhood, I’ve also had families saying, ‘this is what my mother used to sing to me when I was young,’ so I love hearing the impact it has on people.”
While it started off as a trial, it’s been such a hit, the home has decided to make the morning move and grove session a regular part of their day.