South Florida Hospital News
Thursday October 17, 2019
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September 2019 - Volume 16 - Issue 3

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Entering its Fifth Year of Service, The Memory Care Residences at MorseLife Continues to “Lead” With Dance Program Which Reaches and Engages Residents

The Memory Care Residences at MorseLife continues to take steps to reemphasize quality of life and encourage engagement with The Alzheimer’s Project (TAP), a ballroom dancing program for those with limited mobility, led by a former home care agency owner and award-winning ballroom dancer Judith Simon.

“The concept of incorporating movement and music into our resident’s daily routine brings light to their lives,” said MorseLife Memory Care Manager Savannah Helvey. “It is remarkable to see people with limited mobility, like our Parkinson’s and dementia patients, get out of their wheelchairs and walk or even sway in response to the memories aroused by the music and movement that surrounds them.”
 
The Memory Care Residences is celebrating its fourth anniversary offering unrivaled and personalized services to patients and families. Spouses, children, friends and other family members connect with each other in the popular program that is offered twice a month. TAP was developed twelve years ago by Simon who began working in the field at New York’s Institute for Music and Neurologic Function established by renowned author and neurologist Oliver Sacks, M.D., and music therapist Concetta M. Tomaino.
 
TAP uses music and the power of touch to ignite memory and response from memory-impaired individuals while improving flexibility, muscle strength and balance. The positive results of Simon’s work have led her to develop a study on the benefits of ballroom dancing to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, which is being conducted in partnership with Dr. James Galvin, the founding director of Florida Atlantic University’s Comprehensive Center for Brain Health.
 
“My dance classes visibly uplift MorseLife residents and spark energy,” said Simon. “Nonverbal communication like touch allows patients to relax and follow their partners lead. Family members, resident spouses at The Levin Palace and even staff have found that they can meaningfully connect with the residents in gratifying new ways. There is still a lot of life left in people with memory-related illness, it’s just a matter of finding new paths to reach them.”
 
In addition to ballroom dancing, The Memory Care Residences at MorseLife also incorporate Mind&Melody programs into the monthly schedule, which offer more opportunities to transform lives through musical instruments, signing and painting.
 
“Our approach at MorseLife is to bring more life to our residents and their families,” said MorseLife President and CEO Keith Myers. “Our programs consistently leverage this philosophy by providing the people who live here with the best possible care, delicious food, sophisticated environments, inspiring new programs and highly-trained staff. Memory-related diseases are particularly difficult on all who are involved, so finding better ways to inspire joy in our residents and positive interactions among families is a top priority.”
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