West London community organisation delivers "depression buster" classes for the elderly

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West London community organisation delivers "depression buster" classes for the elderly
28th July 2016

Fifteen adults aged between 70 and 98 years hosted an interactive dance class and performed a selection of pieces of choreography they have developed with Lyric Hammersmith-based DanceWest.

The event was part of DanceWest's Bolder not Older programme that provided free weekly classes for the elderly delivered at Shletered Accommodation Sycamore House. The classes are open to anyone from across Hammersmith and Fulham and is funded by Hammersmith United Charities.

Twenty classes were delivered by dance artists Sonia Illescas with support from DanceWest Co-ordinator Jo Whittaker.

DanceWest said: "Whilst creatively keeping everyone fit, our classes are designed to stimulate memory, support fall prevention, help with balance and posture. The classes are delivered by a professional choreographer and supported by a nurturing team.

"Often older adults shut down to new experiences, working through contemporary choreography and dance gives the adults a new experience. The carefully selected music unlocks the participant’s imagination and provides much needed escapism.

"Our classes improve the physical and mental health of the adults. Dance has been proven to elevate depression, anxiety and release tension," added DanceWest.

One of its participants said: "These classes are a depression buster!"

Watch a video about Bolder not Older:

Here is a list of effects by attending the class:

  • Improved ‘balance confidence’ reducing the risk of falls
  • Improved strength and cardiovascular endurance
  • Improved movement retention, coordination and reaction time
  • Improved body awareness, physical alignment and posture
  • Social benefits combating isolation

The ambition of Bolder not Older is to offer free weekly classes across the Tri Borough (Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster) for 70+ adults. DaneWest are seeking support from funders in order to achieve this.

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