Older people can dance their way towards improved health and happiness, according to a report from the Changing Ageing Partnership (CAP).
The research, by Dr Jonathan Skinner from Queen’s University Belfast, reveals the social, mental and physical benefits of social dancing for older people. It suggests that dancing staves of illness, and even counteracts decline in ageing.
Recommendations include the expansion of social dance provision for older people in order to aid successful ageing and help older people enjoy longer and healthier lives.
Jonathan Skinner, Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the School of History and Anthropology at Queen’s, studied the effects of social dancing amongst older people in Northern Ireland, Blackpool and Sacramento, USA.
Dr Skinner said: “I have found that social dancing leads to a continued engagement with life - past, present, and future - and holds the promise for successful ageing. It contributes to the longevity of the dancers, giving them something to enjoy and focus upon - to live for. It alleviates social isolation and quite literally helps take away the aches and pains associated with older age.
“In addition to this, and especially in Northern Ireland, dancing brings people together across communities, creating solidarity, tolerance and understanding.”
Dr Una Lynch, CAP Research Manager at Queen’s said: “Dr Skinner’s study is the seventh piece of CAP research to be completed and we are delighted to be involved in a study that challenges stereotypical images of ageing and highlights the fact that healthy ageing can be fun.”