An exploration into the experience of family caregivers for people living with dementia in a community dance class

Louisa Petts, Elsa Urmston

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    Abstract

    Community dance has been used as an arts-based approach in healthcare, key for expression in populations who may not typically have access to dance. This study sought to conduct an empirical exploration of family caregivers' perceived psychosocial wellbeing when regularly participating in community dance classes. Community dance can be defined as an activity that can enable creative, expressive, and inclusive experiences for those that take part, and, for this study, both caregivers and people living with dementia were able to participate in community dance classes of this nature. Using a qualitative research design, three family caregivers for people living with dementia diagnoses participated in semi-structured interviews. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, the findings suggest that the spousal and adult-child caregivers perceive emotional and psychological benefits from dancing. The caregivers in this study emphasised that their community dance participation provided them with respite, reaffirmed relationship connectivity between caregiver and care-receiver, social engagement, and a rediscovered sense of identity. Findings offer insight into the appropriateness of dance as a method for alleviating potential psychological and social stressors experienced by family caregivers, advocating for greater availability of community dance classes for those experiencing dementia and their caregivers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)126-141
    Number of pages16
    JournalResearch in Dance Education
    Volume23
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2022

    Bibliographical note

    © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
    This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

    Funder

    This study was conducted when both authors were affiliated with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. In the preparation of this paper, the first author is affiliated with Coventry University and the second author with London Contemporary Dance School and University of Exeter.

    Keywords

    • Community dance
    • Social engagement
    • Dementia
    • Caregivers
    • Psychosocial wellbeing

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