Therapeutic dancing for frail older people in residential aged care: a thematic analysis of barriers and facilitators to implementation Academic Article uri icon


  • Background Adults who live in residential aged care can have reduced participation in physical activities and sit for prolonged periods. Therapeutic dancing aims to optimize movement, creative expression, well-being, and social interaction. Objectives To investigate the benefits, challenges, and facilitators to implementing therapeutic dancing in residential aged care. Methods Thematic analysis of semistructured interviews of residential aged care staff and therapists. Interviews were digitally audio-recorded and thematically analyzed. Findings: Four main themes were identified: (a) despite frailty, dancing classes afforded motor and nonmotor benefits, (b) music and dance genre selections were key to success, (c) the skills of the dance instructor were associated with successful outcomes, and (d) there were modifiable and nonmodifiable facilitators and barriers to implementation. Conclusion Enablers included support from management, resident supervision, age-appropriate music with a strong rhythmical beat, and a dance instructor skilled in comprehensive care. Barriers included multimorbidity, frailty, severe cognitive impairment, and funding.

publication date

  • June 1, 2020