Somatic Revelations Ty Tedmon-Jones' blog devoted to information sharing, professional practices and diversity awareness & multiculturalism in the fields of Dance/Movement Therapy and Professional Counseling
The Dance to DTR Blair Cronin's blog on the wonders, trials, and tribulations of becoming a certified dance/movement therapist in California
Come Dance with Me: Bringing Dance Programs to Older Adults & People with Dementia
Pioneer Network Conference
Kansas City, Missouri
August 6 2014
I am so looking forward to presenting at this conference. Can't stop singing, Kansas City here I come. After years of presenting on this topic, I continue to strive to break down what I do into smaller steps.
The most common question I get is "What music do you play?" That is a very difficult question for me to answer, as I create a new playlist for every group that I run. I attempt to tailor the music to the specific group, their likes, their cultural background, age, etc. I have well over 1,000 songs on my playlist for older adults. I have written in response to this question previously. But today, I created a new slide for my powerpoint:
Sequence Music on Playlist
Songs to Sing Along to
I would love to hear back from you. Is this helpful? Do you have other things you take into consideration when you create your playlist?
Dance class proves therapeutic for Parkinson’s disease patients, an article in April 6, 2012 the independent florida alligator is about the inspiration that Julie Brannen, a graduate of University of Florida, found as a student who volunteered in a dance class for people with Parkinson's Disease.
"Brannen said it was amazing to see the Parkinson’s patients’ progression of being comfortable with movement and initiating their own movement even while they’re in pain.
Unlike physical therapy, dance movement therapy focuses on psychological recovery through movement, Brannen said.
For most participants, however, it’s the relationships that make the class an unforgettable experience."
Somehow the writer, Chabell Herrera, misunderstands that psychological recovery is dependent upon relationships. I suppose that historically psychologists may not have focused on the importance of the relationship on one's psychological recovery. However, dance/movement therapists know and build upon the relationships within a group. That is what we do.
"Lindsay Head, a 20-year-old dance sophomore who volunteered last fall, said a special moment for her was seeing the effect her touch had on a patient. Head was surprised to find that the tremors in her partner’s hand would cease under her touch during an activity in class.
The sense of belonging to a group, the physical activity and the interaction with a different generation has been proven to help alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s, said Irene Malaty, assistant professor in UF’s Department of Neurology and medical director of the National Parkinson Foundation Center for Excellence at UF."
To learn more about dance movement therapy, go to www.adta.org. To learn more about dance movement therapy and Parkinson's Disease, go to http://bit.ly/HKGpbS and click on Dance with Parkinson's Disease.
Dr. Miriam Berger, Director of the Dance Therapy Program at the Harkness Dance Center of the 92nd Street Y, says
"I love the Octaband... use both the large and small size for my Movement Disorders class (Parkinsons, MS, etc). One activity they love... we put a small bean bag ball in the center and bounce (to music) and count how many times we can do it... have gotten up to 400!"
That's the highest number I've heard about. Anyone else gotten higher?
The Octaband engenders curiosity, focus and a desire to connect with others. If you work with people who need motivation to help them achieve their goals, this is the time to get an Octaband. Waiting longer will only delay their achievements.
I am perplexed. I don't understand why one would choose to spend more time, energy and money on protecting the life of an unborn fetus, than providing the elderly who cannot care for themselves, with a dignified old age. There are many people who have lived long lives, who have contributed well to provide us with the world we have today, and through no fault of their own, whether because of cognitive or physical limitations, need to be cared for. And how do we thank them?
If you think that the elderly in long term care facilities are being honored as in the 5th Commandment, "Honor Thy Father and Mother", you have not been to a residential memory impairment unit. Certainly things are a lot better than they were when nursing homes were dreadfully smelly places. Many places try really hard, and some, if you can afford them, do better than others.
But in these lean days, even the best facilities can't afford the dance therapy, music therapy, art therapy that they provided not that long ago. Their services, which significantly improve the quality of life for people with dementia, are being cut back. Not because people no longer need them, but, as I understand it, so that free enterprise can remain unregulated.
Is this the meaning of democracy? Is it solely about the possibility for some to make unlimited profit, regardless of the impact upon others?
By cutting money to the arts and social services, teachers and fire fighters, we are not creating jobs, we are cutting them. We are depriving people of the right to right livelihood, and the people and communities they would have served of quality of life.
And all of this is so that ... do I have this straight? because we want less government? We don't need regulation. Right?
I don't think of myself as cynical, but as I listen to my dance therapy students speak of the frequently and grossly inadequate care our clients receive, be they people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, substance abuse, traumatic brain injury, dementia, autism, adhd, I am appalled at the lack of morality of too many of my fellow Americans.
I quote the Declaration of Independence, "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happines], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
I am not suggesting that we overthrow the government. I am suggesting that we support Congressman Jim McGovern's "constitutional amendment bill to overturn the US Supreme Court’s January 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and to make clear that corporations are not people with rights under the US Constitution". As long as corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money to "protect the free speech" of corporations, the rest of us have no voice.
It is incumbent upon all of us to speak up for the disenfranchised. And, the way that I look at it, that would be most of us.
"Dance therapy has recently been recognized in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, autism, and posttraumatic stress. And dance—whether you can move and groove with the best or not-- offers more than just good medicine; it unites the heart and soul of humanity on a global level."
That was the message on a billboard as the taxi brought me to Montego Bay on Thursday. I marvelled at such words on a sign; my sentiments exactly.
Just a few weeks later than planned, I'm mulling over the extraordinary year 2010 has been professionally. A few highlights, in no particular order.
Photographer Charles Daniels took some wonderful photos of the Octaband in use as Sherry Moore videotaped for our new upcoming promotional videotape. I was leading a group with older adults, while Expressive Therapist Adam Riccio led a group with children.
The Octaband was exhibited at the Alzheimer Association/MA and NH chapter, Pioneer Network, NEADTA and American Dance Therapy Association conferences. The Octaband has continued to find new enthusiasts from around the globe.
2010 marked my first article published in a professional journal, cowritten with friend and colleague Heather Hill: Movement as the medium for connection, empathy, playfulness. Journal of Dementia Care, 18(5), September/October 2010, pp.24-27.
I had the extraordinary opportunity, thanks to Salem Health and Wellness Foundation and Friends Village at Woodstown, NJ, to pilot my curriculum in nonverbal communication for caregivers of people with dementia. This is an experiential and interactional training program provided to 33 caregivers, including nursing assistants, activity workers, social worker, dance/movement therapist, and family members. I think it safe to say that we all learned a great deal, and hopefully people with dementia are benefitting as a result.
Friend and colleague, Meg Chang, Ed.D., BC-DMT, now Faculty at California Institute for Integral Studies, has been an amazing, invaluable source of support throughout the process. With Meg's help, along with the help of grant writer (as well as choreographer, dancer, and dance teacher extraordinaire) Joan Green, I filed a grant application for the Marian Chace Foundation of the ADTA (MCF). Happily, the MCF was awarded the grant from the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, allowing us to extend the pilot program by supporting Meg's and my writing of a training manual and creation of a training video. Those are currently in progress, thanks to the Marian Chace Foundation and the AFA.
2011 promises to be an equally exciting year, as we continue to work on the training materials and to offer the trainings. Meg Chang and I will be offering a poster presentation at the Society for the Arts in Healthcare (SAH) conference in San Francisco this April. I also expect to be presenting an intensive training at Kinections in Rochester, NY June 10 - 12.
With the dance/therapy supervision classes I teach at Lesley U. in Cambridge, the dance therapists whom I supervise, and the dance therapy groups I offer locally to older adults and people with dementia, my professional plate is full, rich with meaning and learning opportunities.
Here's to the dance of 2011. It's gotten off to a great start.
Am on the train heading home after an inspiring 3 day Dance for Parkinson's Disease workshop with the Mark Morris Dance Group. The teachers were Mark Morris dancers and were very generous with their instruction and information. But the most inspiring part of the workshop was being a participant observer in the Brooklyn Parkinson's Support group on Saturday. The 1.5 hour class was fun, and the stretches and combinations stretched my body as well as my mind. After the class we got to ask questions of the participants with PD. Someone asked them what they got from the classes. These were some of their responses: "It moves me to participate more, to stretch more." "We come to dance, not to be well." "There's no them and us here." "the ease of approach. . . very friendly and here for each other." "a kindness that pervades this place" "more fun that pumping iron" "She made me feel like I was doing it right, and there is no right." "a place to be safe." from a spouse in the group, "Parkinson's distances you from people. . . Here we come back together in a creative way. Humor is great. Rhythm is infectious. A chance to express ourselves creatively, whether we have PD or not." Olie Westheimer repeatedly reminded us that this is not therapy. This is dance. For those of us who do dance therapy, there may not be this distinction. I think she was concerned that in dance therapy that the aesthetics of dance may be lost. That can be true, depending upon the therapist, the setting, the participants. However, it is not necessarily the case. Dance therapists may, in fact, have a very strong aesthetic. I was interested in and asked about the importance of aesthetics to the benefits of people with P.D. Olie, David Leventhal, and neurologist Dr. Ivan Bodis-Wollner think that neuroscience will eventually prove that there is a strong correlation. David asked me if I thought it might have something to do with mirror neurons. I realized that I do think so. As I watched the company members demonstrating the movements, their movements were so beautiful. I experienced in my body a yearning to move as they were moving. My thought was, "I can do that" and so I was inspired to move to the best of my ability. Whereas, more often in my life, I don't give myself permission to give my all. It certainly speaks to the importance of surrounding oneself with people who model excellence, no matter the field.
According to a new study by the
Society for the Arts in Healthcare, Americans for the Arts, The Joint Commission
and the University of Florida Center for the Arts in Healthcare documents that
incorporating the arts into health-care settings has multiple benefits for
patients and may reduce health-care expenses. Up to half of health-care
institutions in the U.S. incorporate arts programming into their care. Benefits
from arts programming include shorter hospital stays, less need for medication,
and a boost for job satisfaction and employee retention.Philanthropy
Journal, Oct 19, 2009
The AMTA conference gave me a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with previous purchasers of the OctabandTM. One music therapist who works with children with autism said, "The Octaband provides such a nice kinesthetic framework." A woman who did her internship with people with Parkinson's said the folks with Parkinson's and the staff "love it." They are all motivated to keep the shaker eggs on the center circle of the Octaband. One woman reported using the Octaband with great success with people with developmental disabilities, ages 3 - 26. I was told that the music therapy department at U. Dayton love it. And Renata stopped by to tell me that the forensic unit in Patton California loves the Octaband as well.
Thanks to all for the feedback and wonderful ways you are bringing healing to folks with all sorts of challenges.
This photo shows the Octaband being used by dance movement therapist Rachel Federman Morales in Philadelphia with a middle school semi professional dance company and children at the HMS School in a performance, spring 2007.
The Octaband™ is a fun, interactive tool which promotes individuality and group cohesion through movement for people of all ages and abilities. As a dance/movement therapist, Donna Newman-Bluestein was motivated to design the Octaband to stimulate movement in the elderly with dementia. The stretchy material, bright colors, and innovative design stimulate self-expression, spontaneity, and awareness of others. The center circle provides a strong visual focus, and the 5 1/2" hem at the end of each arm allows those with limited grasping ability to participate. Go to www.octaband.com to learn more.