Senior Dance Therapy Reduces Fall Risk

COLUMBIA, Mo., April 20 (UPI) — A dance therapy program developed by a registered nurse and doctoral student improves balance and gait in older adults, U.S. researchers said.

Jean Krampe, a registered nurse and doctoral student in the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri and colleagues, studied residents at an independent-living community developed by MU nursing researchers to help seniors age in place — be able to grow old in their own homes. The study involved 18 dance sessions over a 2-month period.

The study participants used a dance-therapy program called The Lebed Method, also known as Healthy Step, which includes a combination of low-impact dance steps choreographed to music created by Shelley Lebed Davis and her brothers to improve their mother’s mobility and motion when she was recovering from breast cancer.

The dance sessions were led by certified instructors and adjustments were made to fit the needs of the study participants.

The study, published in Nursing Administration Quarterly, found improved levels of balance, gait and overall functionality among those who participated in the dance therapy program.

“We found that dance therapy can increase their walking speed and balance, which are two major risk factors for falling,” Krampe said in a statement.

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