“Shall We Dance?” Older Adults’ Perspectives on the Feasibility of a Dance Intervention for Cognitive Function

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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We explored perceptions of social dance as a possible intervention to improve cognitive function in older adults with subjective memory complaints. A total of 30 participants (19 females; mean age = 72.6 years; SD = 8.2) took part in the study. This included 21 participants who had self-reported subjective memory complaints and nine spouses who noticed spousal memory loss. Semistructured interviews were conducted, and a thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Three main themes were constructed: (a) dance seen as a means of promoting social interaction; (b) chronic illness as a barrier and facilitator to participation; and (c) social dance representing nostalgic connections to the past. Overall, the participants were positive about the potential attractiveness of social dance to improve cognitive and social functioning and other aspects of health. In future research, it is important to examine the feasibility of a social dance intervention among older adults with subjective memory complaints.

Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Foster, Quested, and Ntoumanis are with the School of Psychology, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia. Papathomas is with the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.

Address author correspondence to Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani at C.Thogersen@curtin.edu.au.
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