By Karen Bradley
On Friday afternoons, from 2:30-4:30 pm at the Old School in Musquodoboit Harbour, seniors are gathering for a program designed to engage with their creative exuberance, despite any physical or cognitive challenges.
We begin with a check-in and a circle. We put on the music and we begin to move together in chairs and standing up. The movement is gentle, rhythmic, and energizing. It is also safe.
After a break for tea and cookies, we gather again with Don Rieder, TimeSlips facilitator, to generate stories from photographs. Everyone contributes and the subsequent tales are funny, sweet, sad, hilarious.
Through the sessions, participants connect with themselves and each other. The goals are decreased isolation, having fun, and importantly, increased activity without the need for memory.
Research shows dance and movement activities such as the one described above are natural and effective ways to enjoy music and social connections and to preserve cognition. Dance movement therapy, specifically, can help further with increasing memory retention, decreasing pain, and bringing people together to share life experiences and stories.
The American Dance Therapy Association defines dance movement therapy as: “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration of the individual.” For the older adults across the Eastern Shore, the sessions offered are a way to do just that.
TimeSlips sessions are every Friday from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm. To join, call the Old School at 902-889-2735. Caregivers are also welcome to attend. And the sessions are free to all!