Dementia Dance Classes at Saint Joseph’s

Dementia Dance Classes at Saint Joseph’s

On Friday, 26th of January, a group of 25 took part in the first Saint Joseph’s Shankill Dance Class especially devised for people living with dementia and funded by the HSE Lottery Fund.

Under the expert guidance of professional choreographer Robert Connor from Dance Theatre Ireland, the dancers shared the musical and dance experience together supported by 8 eager volunteers and there wasn’t a leotard or a pair of leg warmers in sight!

Classes will be held every week at Saint Joseph’s and this initiative is a year-long pilot programme to explore the benefits that dance and music appreciation make to the lives of people living with dementia.

People living with dementia have many complex social, psychosocial, emotional and physical needs.  The care that everyone living or attending day care at Saint Joseph’s receives is very specific to these needs,  many of which are answered by focusing on what matters to them. ‘Mattering’ is feeling deep inside that to someone or something and somewhere you really count, and knowing that just being who you are really matters to someone else.

What better way to feel you matter than to dance with someone?   Movement with music is evocative and inspiring and dancing with someone else creates a sense of belonging and intimacy.

Siobhan Grant from Saint Joseph’s said

“Physical activity of any kind for people living with dementia is beneficial to their health and wellbeing and by creating a ‘safe and inclusive’ environment for people living with dementia to dance, we can help people ‘feel’ special, needed and loved.”

She continued,

“We are very grateful for the support from the HSE Lottery Fund that enables us to trial this year long project and of course we are thrilled that Robert Connor is on board to lead this new dance corps!”