Deerfield-based North Shore Dance Therapy delivers ‘amazing’ results according to a January 8, 2013 article in the Deerfield Review, IL.
“'There is so much research that shows creative arts having a positive impact on people with dementia,' said Hornthal.... 'It taps into areas of the brain that are not directly affected by the dementia.... the music and the movement together enhances the patient’s ability to communicate,' she said. 'It enhances the mood and the ability to engage more with the community.'”
Chauncey Whitaker said of the dance therapy with Hornthal, “The therapy has a direct impact on my mother’s level of involvement and expression.”
I am taking note of the music his mother enjoys moving to, James Brown’s “Living in America,”and “I Am Woman”. Older adults are getting younger all the time! No longer are the songs of the 20's and 30's so popular in my groups. I like Brown's "Get up offa that Thing" myself.
My certification project for Laban Movement Analysis is creating a Dance/Movement Therapy Assessment Tool to assess the quality of life for people with mid to late stage dementia, folks who cannot verbally communicate their needs. Hopefully, I will finish writing within the next few days.
And, it is building on that mind-body connection in Dance Movement Therapy and to improve the quality of life for people with advanced dementia that I will be training caregivers and dance movement therapists in The Dance of Interaction: Embodied Relationships in Dementia Care with colleague Meg Chang at CIIS.
Kamahria Hopkins, participant in a previous training at Kinections and dance movement therapy student, said in working with her clients with advanced dementia the training helped her to be "mindful of always being on their level, approaching them from the front and using lots of touch and other nonverbal cues in my facial affect and body positioning. I also make it a point to greet each person individually by name, shaking their hand and using eye contact."
Valerie Perdue, another participant in training and practicing psychotherapist, offered that she learned the importance "of initiating change in quality of life by focusing on the carers" in addition to the target population." "I have helped my clients who have loved ones with dementia be more emotionally connected to their family members because of the training." She also said, "The group dynamic in the class with you was particularly supportive and gentle."