Dance, Creativity, and Socialising

Introduction: of Jessica Conneely and Dance for Wellbeing

3:03 Interest in dance for mature adults there was an Art and Health Institute that brought artists into health care institutions. It included visual arts, singing, poetry, theatre but had no dance programs. Jessica managed their dance/movement  programs starting in care homes but then expanded into community programs. Connecting health benefits and creative expression to delve into their own story – exploring themselves.

6:20 Many classes, especially in the memory support areas, start in a chair as it is safe, many more relaxed in a chair, especially beginners. After a thorough warm-up, people may get up from their chairs and move on to creative expression and their own stories. Immersing themselves in movement and then make a dance of it and adding emotion.

9:55 Individualised building on a sequence given by the dance leader. Participants can volunteer movements and leader creates structured sequences with movements volunteered by the participants or can be complete improvisation by individual participants. But many like the structure; it gives comfort. Jessica offers classes in care homes, community centres, art centres, or rehab centre

14:30  Response from older participants very positive. Dance training for this population focuses on safety first, assessing mobility, start slowly by sitting in chairs, then standing, challenging the group towards the end of class. Social Interaction very  important to the participants and the classes are very popular. At the end looking and seeing your neighbour next to you and thanking them for dancing with you.

18:27 Benefits of creativity in the form of dance: When Jessica brings classes to care homes, especially memory support groups, stories and finding the secrets in the group to build connection and engagement with each other. Give people time to tell their story and honor their stories by listening.  The challenge in care homes is structured session are not possible but introduce dance by engaging them and their carers in group. Use motion from other areas, like sport to challenge their memory and their creativity. In dementia, movement can trigger their (similar to always know how to ride a bike regardless of how long it has been since one has ridden a bike.

25:15 Give a variety of music styles, tempos, etc. Waltz’s and Irish jigs can trigger movements in a chair. People in wheelchairs can dance. Just need to know modifications.

26:30 Training: Jessica has developed a course through TAFE NSW to teach movement specialists to learn how to engage individuals with dance in their homes or in the community. Next step is to expand into regional areas, and to possibly give the training online. It been up until now a face-to-face course but she is working on an online version. Do not have to be a dancer but have interest and experience in movement. Physios have taken the course previously. Course teaches how to be creative, build the sequence of an appropriate dance for this age group. She recommends that people focus on one or two groups at the beginning to gain experience. Jessica started with care homes and classes for those with Parkinsons. She has expanded into community classes recently. The safely aspects are very important. Benefits: physical movement, engaging creativity, and socialisation.

Contact Details:

FB: dance4wellbeing


Two Years into Retirement with Nerida Tempest

Introduction to Nerida Tempest- 2 years into retirement

7:36 Have to feel happy where you are. Value social interactions – started yoga, joined U3A. Need to be proactive to find new friends. Important to make the effort to meet people, make friends. Left good friends in Perth, but everyone doesn’t retire at the same time. Can’t rely solely on those you socialised with before retirement. Return to Perth because Nerida’s parents live there – about 3 times a year. See Perth friends then.

11:30 Planning day to day – doing things that I didn’t do when I worked – more physical exercise, joined a book club. Nerida and Richard planned for retirement for two years and weren’t worried about finding something to do. More difficult to choose between the many things that are available.  But activities change and be open to new things along the way. Most important to keep your body and mind active and grow your friendship group. It has been more difficult for her husband because he has been working for most of his life and taken very little long-term time off as Nerida did for raising the children. Their planning for retirement consisted mainly of logistics once they decided to move.

16:19 Retirement fulfilled their expectations. They are happy they relocated, aware that may have many years in retirement and have started thinking needing to find a purpose. But right now content with current activities but in the future they will probably not be enough. Looking for something that adds value to someone else. Nerida will start to probably explore volunteer possibilities.

18:54 Guidelines to be fulfilled in retirement: Happiness is not enough – people need purpose. For their self-worth, need to add value to someone or something. Really happy, but there will need to be more

20:48 Advice: stimulated mentally, physical activity, good social network (very important) get involved in something and comfortable with the activity and the people.