A health and wellbeing digital platform that brings a unique blend of dance, fitness, professional choir, singing, yoga, pilates, ballet fitness and on-line community collaboration is reducing stress levels in care workers as well as residents in care homes.
danceSing and danceSing Care www.dance-sing.uk is creating impact in the fitness, healthy ageing, and care sector, with dementia or not, with the power of music, movement and dance.
Stirling University has collaborated with danceSing to create a pilot study with ten care homes. The unique fusion of music and movement into resident’s routines has revealed improvements in depression, anxiety, stress and loneliness and improved sleep and appetite. Even more impactful was a marked improvement in the mood, physical health, and job satisfaction of care workers. 
danceSing and danceSing Care is a mainly digital platform that delivers 400+ on demand sessions expertly refined by private + NHS healthcare professionals. Musical guest stars and six weekly live classes add to the showbiz razzamataz of stand out performances to half a million intergenerational households from private, public, NHS and care home providers. In-person sessions are supported with dynamic private community groups. “We help people to age well and remain independent by creating, fun and impactful sustainable wellness programmes that promote health inspirational and fun filled living”, Natalie Garry, Founder of danceSing and danceSing Care.
“Increasing our levels of physical activity is one of the most important ways in which we can all improve our physical and mental health as we age, improving strength and balance, reducing falls and increasing healthy life expectancy. But there are many barriers to being physically active so anything that makes it fun as danceSing does is welcome. As our population ages, interventions such as danceSing are a vital component of a holistic and preventative approach to public health.” Dr Aideen Young, Senior Evidence Manager for Research, Impact and Voice, Centre for Ageing Better.
The recent study has also created compelling case studies demonstrating how residents participated more in each movement session as the weeks went on, with improvements in depression and anxiety, less stress and distress, decreased loneliness, improved sleep and appetite.
Creator of danceSing and danceSing Care Natalie Garry is a former professional ballet dancer trained with English National Ballet, performed with Scottish Ballet and Scottish Dance Theatre. Natalie is a visionary steward for the power of movement and singing and has been a leading provider of evidence-based music, dance and arts therapies for dynamic support for people with dementia or simply ageing.
danceSing sessions are created to meet priority healthcare needs and provide for a range of age, strength and ability, lifestyles and time restraints. This includes how to move with painful joints, chair fitness, how dance exercises to ‘catch a star’ encourage wrist flexibility and pincer grip strength.
The team also focus sessions on additional core needs for older people such as loneliness, anxiety, depression, sleep quality, nutrition, weight management, exercise counselling and stress and anxiety
Garry has amassed a team of gifted performers and leaders including accomplished piano players, musicians and composers, choral leaders and professional singers and dancers.
Natalie Garry saw the impact that the danceSing platform made on loneliness and isolation during the pandemic as well as the importance of digitalising care homes. She is delighted to see DHSC commit to £150 million to support 80% of care providers to implement a digital system by March 2024. She says, “The mission of danceSing and danceSing Care is to improve muscle strength, cardiovascular, flexibility and lung capacity. As well as reduce obesity, anxiety, isolation, and loneliness and bring wellness to the nation through dance and song. A digital platform alongside in-person sessions at scale will bring tangible support to healthy ageing at home and within the care sector”.
One of the UK’s leading organisations for ageing, Centre for Ageing Better, https://ageing-better.org.uk, has identified inflexible lifestyles, fear of pain during exercise and lack of motivation as key pointers to avoid exercise https://ageing-better.org.uk/sites/default/files/2021-09/Keep-on-moving-physical-inactivity.pdf, Sept 2021
Evidence is now available that music and dance can significantly alleviate the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia without the side effects associated with drugs and is often ‘prescribed’ by health care professionals.
 Stirling University in partnership with danceSing Care followed 47 residents from 10 Balhousie Care Group homes across Scotland over four times a week for 12 weeks. https://www.stir.ac.uk/news/2022/october-2022-news/research-shows-music-and-movement-hits-right-note-with-care-home-residents/.
The study concluded: Music and movement has positive impact on the health and wellbeing of care home residents. Collective mood of the residents was visibly improved. Residents participated more in each movement session as the weeks went on, with visible improvements in depression and anxiety, less stress and distress, decreased loneliness, improved sleep and appetite. Care home staff benefited from the injection of music and movement into their weekly routine, with team members reporting improved mood, physical health and job satisfaction. The feasibility study is available to view here
Academics looked at participants’ health and wellbeing, spanning anxiety and depression, stress and loneliness, sleep satisfaction, and indications of frailty such as appetite and unintentional weight loss.
‘Music and movement has a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of care home residents – and could lead to similar activities being rolled out on a wider scale’
Bonds have been strengthened even more between staff and residents, with the programme encouraging increased interaction between the two groups. Residents with dementia were also noted as being “calm”, “content” and in a “happy place”, which in turn had a positive impact on staff wellbeing.
The study also identified challenges to delivering the programme, such as staff time and availability of suitable technology, so solutions to these can be incorporated into any future activity.
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