Sandra Hirst RN, PhD, GNC(C) is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary. Her interests include promoting the health and well-being of older adults, with a particular interest in those older adults who have cognitive impairment. She is also a Board member of the IFA.
Creative Ageing through Dance / Movement Approaches: A Scoping Review
There is clear evidence that dance, music, drama, and other creative arts enrich the lives of older adults. Leaders in the arts and ageing service fields continue to build on this evidence to increase awareness about how participation in the creative arts benefit older adults. One path of creative ageing involves dance / movement approaches. This scoping study was conducted to identify the evidence regarding the value of dance / movement activities for health promotion in older adults.
Purpose: (1) to identify knowledge about the value of dance / movement activities for older adults and (2) to compare research findings to experiential evidence (i.e., anecdotal accounts) of adults about their perspectives of the value of dance / movement approaches.
Method: Ref Works was used to retrieve more than 5000 articles. The final sample was reduced to 247 based upon the inclusion and exclusion criteria, and ability to locate the full text.
Findings: Five themes:
– a balancing act: most studies / personal experiences identified that dance movement promoted health through fall reduction and promotion of balance,
– a land without borders: there are infinite possibilities to express dance movements ; e.g. waltz, ballet,
– dance movement promotes personhood: creativity is often articulated as an expression of self,
– Tai Chi reigns: the majority of articles obtained were specific to this movement routine, not specific to ethnic culture, and
– cognition and dance movement: a natural partnership to promote cognitive functioning or delay impairment.
Conclusions: Dance / movement approaches facilitate healthy aging. Insights were gained that will be used to develop parameters for an assessment tool (checklist) to compare the research and experiential evidence of the perceived benefits of this approach for older adults and the financial costs of same. The latter will be part of an Action Research project to ensure the voices of the experience of older adults are heard by policy planners.