In this ADTA Talk, Donna Newman-Bluestein, M.Ed., BC-DMT, CMA, LMHC, discusses how people with dementia “excel” at tuning into other people’s feelings and how dance/movement therapists are primed to help them engage in the present moment.
“Many people with dementia are unable to access motivation,” Newman-Bluestein said. “They need someone, preferably everyone, to provide sufficient sensory stimulation that is culturally and personally relevant to help them connect to their intrinsic motivation.”
The relationship created between the dance/movement therapist and the person with dementia becomes the “strongest motivator.”
“Once that motivation is tapped and they’re invited to be present – they can be delightfully playful and present. They can still move and derive great pleasure from moving.”
Newman-Bluestein explains how showering a person with dementia with stimulation such as music and props and then observing how they respond, will help them feel seen, heard and appreciated when that movement response is reflected back to them.
Instead of warehousing people with advanced dementia, which is often commonplace, dance/movement therapy recognizes who they are by inviting them to “be in their bodies” and honoring their choices.