We found this article interesting and really positive so thank you ABC Noth Coast and the reporter Samantha Turnbull
Silent discos, popular at music festivals and clubs geared towards Generation Y, have found a new posse of fans in aged-care centers across Australia.
Three facilities run by Feros Care in northern New South Wales have recently introduced weekly silent discos — where music is played through wireless headphones instead of a loudspeaker system.
Positive living co-ordinator Jennie Hewitt said the combination of music and dance was proving to have therapeutic benefits, particularly with dementia sufferers.
"One of the residents came along to the disco and he was in his wheelchair and he was quite withdrawn, he had his eyes closed and his head down, but as we put the headphones on, he started to tap his foot, and then he opened his eyes and looked around and in the end he was kicking his legs to New York New York," she said.
"When the class finished he gave an enormous round of applause and promptly stood up out of his wheelchair because he'd forgotten he couldn't walk and he walked back to his room.""It was mind-blowing."
Grants to conduct further studies
Ms. Hewitt said the healing power of music was relatively well-known, but combined with physical movement it had additional benefits.
"It's actually quite difficult to get our people with cognitive impairment to join in to exercise groups, they feel a little disconnected and have trouble following the instructions," she said.
"When you put it to music and they remember the words and they move at that base instinct, which doesn't require cognition, that's really the only exercise program that I've seen that gets people up and engaged and working as a cohesive group."Feros researchers have been so impressed, they are in the process of applying for grants to conduct formal studies into the impact of the silent discos on dementia sufferers.
"It's still emerging work but we want to be part of the bigger picture in finding out, how to use music to reach people, particularly with dementia, and to become involved in as much scientific research as we can," Ms Hewitt said.
Silent disco company discoDtours last year introduced a program called Moove and Groove for seniors in aged care facilities throughout Sydney, and is also conducting research into the benefits for dementia sufferers.
The company was awarded a New South Wales Government grant to develop the program in collaboration with a music therapist and exercise physiologist.
The average age of 90
Dance teacher Tess Eckert, who runs the discos at Feros's centers in Byron Bay, Bangalow and Kingscliff, said the program brought joy to all.
"It gives me a lot of hope that I can still dance until I'm 100," she said.
"I'm always shocked when I remind myself that most of them are over 90.
"If I could be doing this at that age, life is going to be fine.
Byron Bay dancer Jillie Richardson, 97, said she had only discovered her love of dancing in her senior years.
"I was a very late bloomer, but I think it's in our blood, it's part of who we are, and it loves to come out," she said.
"To see the fluidity, to know how we've inhibited our bodies with our upbringing, and to see the joy that comes out of the movements — it's a beautiful thing."
Nina Marzzi, 97, said the silent discos had reignited her love of dance and she had started going to the local pub once a week to keep it up.
"The moment we step on the floor, we dance, without sitting down until the very end," she said.
"How I last, I don't know, because I can't walk.
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