Loneliness continues to be a problem in the UK particularly for older people. Researchers have found that loneliness can have as much impact upon health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. Loneliness is associated with depression, sleep problems, impaired cognitive health, heightened vascular resistance, hypertension, psychological stress and mental health problems.
Factors that contribute to loneliness are limited social networks, (living alone, being widowed or divorced, a lack of contact with friends and family and limited opportunities to participate in social occasions) health (poor health, limited mobility, social care needs or cognitive and sensory impairment) individual characteristics (age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, low income, retirement), neighbourhood characteristics (structures of buildings and streets, provision of local amenities, territorial boundaries, area reputation, neighbourliness, material deprivation of area of residence).
Whilst there are many social groups running for older adults, dance seems to be a popular choice as it lends itself to encouraging social interaction amongst participants. Dance classes foster fun and friendships. Studies have shown that dance in particular encourages social bonding and ‘many researchers have argued that people experience a blurring of the self into their groups thanks to the synchronisation that occurs while dancing’, (Jason G. Goldman).
Whether individuals have danced before or never danced a step in their life there are many dance classes running to encourage older adults to keep moving and meet new people.
In our experience of running Keep Dancing classes some of our dancers have told us that;
,‘I wouldn’t see anyone for the week if I didn’t come to this class’.
,‘When I put the key in the door I know I will be alone and that’s why I look forward to coming each week’.
,‘It was the first class that I came to after losing my husband and the first time I had listened to music in the company of other people’.
All of the above demonstrating the positive social impact that our dance classes are having on our dancers and in a small way helping people to become less lonely.
,How Xpress-Yourself can help?
Our Keep Dancing classes are designed so that they are low impact exercise with no need for a partner. Classes are designed to encourage individuals to meet new people and facilitate social interaction amongst participants and often friendships are formed and some dancers even meet outside the group.
Xpress-Yourself also run social events , like our Non Traditional Tea Dance and Christmas Parties which invite all our classes from across the West Midlands to meet.
Keep Dancing teaches many different dance styles to maintain interest, improve coordination and improve balance and develop memory. The nature of the classes are very friendly and encourage individuals to have FUN!
However, we’re not just about Keep Dancing. Our belief that everyone is dancer is extended to working with older frail adults in care homes, dementia cafes and hospitals. Our dance workshops are use an inclusive approach so that they are accessible for all no matter how limited an individual’s movement may be. We whole heartened believe that any opportunity to dance is an opportunity to gently move, evoke memories and bring laughter and happiness into everyone’s lives.
Want to dance?
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