If you Google ‘old people dancing’ – I guarantee you will be entertained! Seniors everywhere are letting it be known that a little grey hair and a knee replacement or two does not mean the dance is over!
Check out this dancing queen… she’s amazing… and happy too!
Ellie Harding is a perfect example of a senior who doesn’t let her age get in the way of her two-stepping. At 80, she still hosts a lively dance night with friends and family once a month at her Varsity residence in Calgary.
“I may be getting up there but boy I’m telling you – dancing keeps me young!” She told a group of us mid-lifers – friends gathering to celebrate her daughter Jill’s 50th birthday. None of us had any idea Jill’s mom would be the life of the party.
“We have a group of 10 or 12 regulars who always show up at my place – I call us the Friday Night Dancers. The only thing that stops the dance is if someone throws a hip!” She added laughing. Then she jumped up and summoned her son-in-law Jeremy to meet her on the makeshift kitchen/dancefloor. The two of them two-stepped like a couple of pros. We watched in astonishment and felt like we were the seniors.
The next day I did some research on dancing and decided we all need to be dancing. It’s not just great fun – it’s also very good for you on a variety of levels. For instance, studies show that music and movement are helpful in reducing stress and depression. This study features older people and was published in a 2012 issue of Journal of Clinical Nursing. I found several other studies on people of all ages.
Other research shows that dancing can have a positive impact on Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes and heart disease. The studies that really caught my attention focused on the benefits of seniors dancing to improve strength, balance, and even ward off dementia.
I emailed these studies to my friend Jill, to share with her mom. Two weeks later I got a Thank You card in the mail – signed by every one of the Friday Night Dancers. “We always knew all this fun would keep us from losing our minds!” said someone who called herself Jiving Jeanie.
Oh my – so much fun!
Get your dancing shoes shined and ready! To celebrate the joy of movement and the beautiful spring weather, AgeCare is hosting a Spring Fling: Dinner and Dance.
AgeCare Columbia in Lethbridge, Valleyview in Medicine Hat, and Orchard Manor in Brooks have upcoming events. Please click on your community’s name for more details and to RSVP.
We hope to see you there!
For more information about how dancing positively affects your health visit:
1. According to an article called The Effectiveness of Dance Interventions to Improve Older Adults’ Health: A Systematic Literature Review, published on the site of the National Institute of Health, dancing can provide measurable health benefits. “The findings suggest that dance, regardless of its style; can significantly improve muscular strength and endurance, balance, and other aspects of functional fitness in older adults.”
2. A research project spanning two decades studied how various cognitive and physical leisure activities impact mental sharpness in seniors over the age of 75. The study, funded by the National Institute on Aging and conducted by Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2003. More than a decade later – the results are still big news! Not surprisingly, cognitive activities such as reading, playing musical instruments and engaging in board games where shown to lower the risk of dementia in senior citizens. What was somewhat of a surprise was that of all the physical activities profiled (including walking, cycling and swimming)… “Dancing was the only physical activity associated with a lower risk of dementia.”