CHICAGO (CBS) — Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can be a dark place for those living with the conditions and for their caregivers.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov shows how dance therapy is helping patients connect with their world and their loved ones, even if it’s for a few moments.
The movements may be small, but Dance Therapist Erica Hornthal’s approach to teaching dance is gentle, as she leads her weekly movement session for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The board-certified therapist says for people who may live in a world filled with confusion, anxiety, and silence, even the smallest of movements and music spark a connection.
“The brain, the body takes over and then they’re singing the song and engaged with each other. It takes them away from the day in and day out of the disease,” said Hornthal.
Marie Kloss attends the weekly sessions with her husband, Eugene, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s eight years ago.
“All of the sudden he’ll start talking, which he doesn’t talk. It will stimulate him enough to say what he wants to say. That’s one good thing,” Marie stated.
Marie says that bit of communication keeps her from missing her husband of 62 years and is just one benefit of dance therapy.
“You see a lot of smiles afterwards. Spirits are lifted, People are still kinda dancin’ when they’re on their way to dinner,” said Mary Eichenfeld, the Balmoral Care Center Activities Director.
“It’s just untapped potential for somebody who often times has been given up on,” said Hornthal.