Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Laura Wood


The purpose of this thesis is to examine the use of Dance/movement therapy (D/MT) with a focus on sensory stimulation among individuals living with dementia to promote a higher level of engagement, connection, and reminiscence. This thesis will provide a literature review on the challenges that individuals living with dementia experience and the importance of a person-centered approach to care that is grounded in relationship (Newman-Bluestein & Chang, 2017). Additionally, the role that Dance/movement therapy plays among people with dementia and the benefits of sensory stimulation within this population are also included. Finally, a Dance/movement therapy intervention that was implemented at an affordable housing community in the Boston area among a diverse, low-income group of older adults with mild to severe dementia in February and March 2020 will be presented. A Chacian structure was implemented with a focus on touch through the use of props, hand holding, and self-massage, as well as stimulation through music, encouraging reminiscence. The observations indicated valuable benefits for group participants, confirming a need for further research to be conducted on the benefits of D/MT among this specific population.

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