Contributing Writer: Natasha Goldstein-Levitas, Dance/Movement Therapist
We change. The seasons change. Life changes.
As we attempt to move through these transitions, we often feel stuck, lost, and fearful. These changes are necessary for growth; in fact, everything is changing. Nothing ever stays exactly the same.
The more that we resist the new and unfamiliar, the harder it will be to ever feel a sense of comfort and satisfaction.
Our bodies let us know when we have resisted too much: headaches, accidents, digestive issues, mood imbalances, heart palpitations, and insomnia. This resistance to change promotes derangement of our mind, body, and spirit.
Engaging our senses and connecting in various ways can help to ease these transitions.
There are many sense(able) techniques that we can use with our clients and loved ones to help them navigate through the tremendous change and loss associated with aging and dementia.
We can encourage engagement and connection by playing their favorite music in the background and focusing on their responses in-the-moment.
We can set the scene by providing a comfortable, warm environment, and using a calm, reassuring tone of voice and supportive body language.
We can focus on their strengths instead of their limitations.
Perhaps we can encourage our clients and loved ones to gently stretch to the music while holding onto some colorful scarves of their choice.
Or we could hold onto a patterned tablecloth together and move it playfully in various patterns and at different tempos.
This activity may stimulate reminiscence, discussion, and excitement.
Could this tablecloth become a “blanket for a picnic with loved ones”, a “sea of dreams”, an “oven for comfort food”, or a “container for our memories”?
Let’s move through the transitions and resistance together. There are opportunities to feel connected, supported, and safe, even amidst change and chaos.
Enjoy Another Article by Natasha on TinT: How to Use Movement Therapy in Dementia Care
About the author: Natasha Goldstein-Levitas, MA, BC-DMT is a Philadelphia, PA Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist and Senior and Dementia Care Adviser with nearly 18 years of experience working with high functioning to severely cognitively and physically impaired older adults.
Natasha feels strongly that regular therapeutic engagement and a sensory stimulating setting are key components to promoting quality of life.
She has presented her work at the Alzheimer’s Association’s New Jersey and Delaware Dementia Conferences, at the 2017 Philadelphia Spring Memory Care Forum, and the LeadingAge Meeting and EXPO in November, 2018 in Philadelphia.
Natasha is a published author on DMT within senior and dementia care and a new Member of the Standards of Excellence (SOE) Council for the National Institute for Dementia Education.
Visit Natasha’s site, NatashaGoldstein.com, to learn more about dance/movement therapy.
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