Memory Care at MorseLife Continues to “Lead” With Dance Program That Engages Residents

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

“Incorporating movement and music into our residents’ 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 and sway in response to memories sparked by the music and movement around them.”

Family and friends connect with their loved ones in the popular bi-weekly program. TAP uses music and the power of touch to ignite memory and response while improving flexibility, muscle strength and balance. The 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 classes visibly uplift MorseLife residents,” said Simon. “Nonverbal communication like touch allows patients to relax and follow their partner’s lead. Family members, resident spouses at the Levin Palace, and even staff find they can meaningfully connect with Memory Care residents in gratifying new ways. There is still a lot of life in people with memory-related illness. It’s just a matter of finding new paths to reach them.”

In addition to ballroom dancing, Memory Care Residences at MorseLife also incorporate Mind & Melody programs into the monthly schedule, which offer more opportunities to engage and energize residents through musical instruments, signing and painting.