A popular Mexican dance – known as Danzon – is proving a lifeline for dementia sufferers in British care homes, it has been revealed.
Dementia specialist Dr Azucena Guzman Garcia arranged for residents to be taught some simple steps of Danzon and found that twice-weekly sessions had a major effect.
The classes benefited the residents’ cognitive, behavioural and emotional functions as they enjoyed the uplifting music and social interaction.
Dr Garcia introduced the classes as part of her PhD research at Newcastle University.
“While dancing is often considered entertainment in care homes, I believe that it can be useful practice,” the Daily Express quoted her as saying.
“I found that these dance classes helped calm agitation and improved mood and quality of life for people with dementia. There are also obvious advantages in terms of physical fitness.
“I witnessed the joy that people got from taking part in the dancing and for residents who were watching, the laughter and happy memories it generated,” she said.
Dr Garcia designed a programme of 30-minute sessions involving a warm-up, practice, free-style dancing and a cool down for the residents.
The study has been published in the Dementia Journal of Social Science and Practice.