New Social Opportunities for Seniors Living with Dementia and their Caregivers through Sharing Dance

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Health Benefits of Innovative program by Baycrest and Canada’s National Ballet School studied in partnership with Brandon University

No experience is required to participate in the Baycrest NBS Sharing Dance Seniors program, an exciting social opportunity that Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS), in partnership with Baycrest is providing at no cost for people living with dementia and their caregivers in the Westman Region at four locations starting September 12.

“Too often, people living with dementia struggle with isolation, particularly in rural areas,” said Dr. Rachel Herron, a Canada Research Chair at Brandon University. “Baycrest NBS Sharing Dance Seniors can provide opportunities for people living with dementia – and their caregivers – to socialize with others in the community.”

Herron is excited that the Baycrest NBS Sharing Dance Seniors pilot program is returning for the second time to the Westman Region and is now more accessible. She believes the program has the potential to help change the way people perceive those who are living with dementia.

The innovative pilot program is now being offered at new rural sites including a personal home care setting. Baycrest NBS Sharing Dance Seniors will offer a series of dance classes with intended benefits for health and social inclusion and will run for eight weeks at four locations in Brandon, Neepawa, and Minnedosa starting September 12.

The pilot program is part of a research project conducted in partnership with Brandon University and in collaboration with Alzheimer Society Manitoba in Westman Region.

“Baycrest NBS Sharing Dance Seniors is a great way for the Westman Region to see how people can live well with dementia, especially when there are programs and services that recognize their abilities,” said Julie Hockley, Senior Manager of Regional Services for the Alzheimer Society.

Interested participants can call their location of choice to reserve or look for Sharing Dance Seniors in Westman on Facebook. Locations include:

  • Wednesdays at 12:30 pm: Alzheimer Society of Manitoba Westman Region, Unit 4B –457 Ninth Street, Brandon, Man. Contact: 204-729-8320.
  • Wednesdays at 2 pm: Country Meadows Personal Care Home, Neepawa, Man. (Residents and family only), 500 Veterans Way, Neepawa, MB R0J 1H0 Contact: 204-476-2383.
  • Wednesdays at 2:30 pm: Prairie Oasis, 241 Eighth Street, Brandon Man. Contact: 204-727-6641
  • Fridays at 10 am: Minnedosa 50+ Activity Centre, 31 Main Street South, Minnedosa, Man. Contact: 204-867-5190

About Baycrest NBS Sharing Dance Seniors

Baycrest NBS Sharing Dance Seniors is a programme that makes high quality dance activities more accessible to seniors, and people living with age-related illness, including dementia.

As part of the initiative, NBS launched a pilot programme with Baycrest in autumn 2017 to bring dance to seniors in the Peterborough-Kawartha region of Ontario – one of the fastest aging rural regions in Canada – and will be piloting the program in the Westman Region in fall 2018 and spring 2019. The pilot utilises video streaming technology to beam NBS’ expert instruction directly to the region – without the instructors ever leaving NBS’ campus in Toronto.

About The Research

This project is part of a larger study funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research called Improving Social Inclusion for Canadians with Dementia and Carers through Sharing Dance.

This research project examines the experiences of people participating in the Sharing Dance with Seniors program, the effectiveness of its delivery, and the challenges of expanding and sustaining the program. Information collected during these phases of the study will help to inform the development of future programs as well as policies for seniors and their carers.

The research project has been approved by the Trent University Research Ethics Board and Brandon University Research Ethics Committee.

The project leader in Brandon is Dr. Rachel Herron, Assistant Professor, Geography, Brandon University, 204-727-9771 or


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