therapies are helpful for older people
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dancing needn't be just for fun, it can also be therapeutic.
Two recent studies conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri (UM)
found that participation in dance-based therapy can improve the balance and gait
in older adults.
Improved functionality among seniors can decrease their risk of falling and
reduce costly injuries.
"Creative interventions such as dance-based therapy have the potential to
significantly reduce falls in older persons," said Jean Krampe, registered nurse
and doctoral student in the Sinclair School of Nursing.
"In the studies, we found improved levels of balance, gait and overall
functionality among seniors who participated in regular dance-therapy sessions.
Nursing and eldercare professionals can help move these programmes into practice
to reduce the detrimental burden caused by falls."
The researchers used a dance-therapy programme called The Lebed Method (TLM),
which includes a combination of low-impact dance steps choreographed to music.
Sessions were led by certified TLM instructors and adjusted to fit the specific
needs of the seniors who participated.
The most recent study was conducted with residents at TigerPlace, an
independent-living community developed by MU nursing researchers to help
The study included 18 dance sessions offered over a two-month period.
Participants reported that they enjoyed the sessions and wanted to continue the
"We found that many seniors are eager to participate and continue to come back
after attending sessions because they really enjoy it," Krampe said.
"Among seniors who stand up and move during sessions, we found that dance
therapy can increase their walking speed and balance, which are two major risk
factors for falling," Krampe added.
In 2008, Krampe and MU researchers conducted a six-week pilot study with the
Alexian Brothers PACE Program (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) in
St. Louis. More than half of the participants self-reported improvements in gait
TLM, also called Healthy Steps, was created by Shelley Lebed Davis and her two
brothers who sought to improve range of motion and boost the spirits of their
mother who was recovering from breast cancer.
After seeing successful results, they shared the programme with hospitals. Today
Healthy Steps is used by many cancer patients and in nursing homes worldwide.
The MU study is the first to examine the benefits of the programme among
The first study was published in Nursing
- IANS / Times of Oman