You’re never too old to dance.
And on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, at 2 p.m., residents of Samaritas Senior Living in Bloomfield Hills will have the opportunity to learn their first steps – or resume their already proficient dance ability – in a special ballroom dance performance and lesson, thanks to a collaboration between Samaritas and Fred Astaire Dance Studio.
Two of our professional dance instructors will demonstrate different dance styles for residents, and then encourage residents to participate in a simple dance lesson. Samaritas is planning the event as a special afternoon party, for which residents can dress up, enjoy cocktails and appetizers, and fulfill their dreams of dancing like the stars.
“Our residents love to watch Dancing with the Stars,” says Gloria Krass, Samaritas Senior Living program director. “It should be a wonderful fit. It will also give us an opportunity to see if we would like to add dancing as an activity here at Samaritas of Bloomfield.”
Research shows that dancing is a great way to stave off the effects of aging. Dancing provides the physical exercise recommended for older adults as well as stress reduction and increased serotonin levels. It also helps maintain mental acuity.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals that stimulating one’s mind by dancing can prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. The 21-year study of senior citizens, age 75 and older, was led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and funded by the National Institute on Aging.
Researchers studied cognitive activities such as reading books, writing for pleasure, doing crossword puzzles, playing cards and playing musical instruments alongside physical activities like playing tennis or golf, swimming, bicycling, dancing, walking for exercise and doing housework.
One of the surprises of the study was that almost none of the physical activities appeared to offer any protection against dementia. The one exception was dancing. Frequent dancing had a rate of 76 percent of dementia prevention.
Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Coyle explained it as dancing integrates several brain functions at once — kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional — further increasing a person’s neural connectivity and rebuilding the brain. Plus, it’s a social activity that keeps seniors connected, happy and engaged.
For every age group, dancing has incredible benefits.
Krass is excited to bring ballroom to the Samaritas campus. “Our seniors are active and engaged, and we believe this will add to their options,” she says.