Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Denise Malis


The question of how identity is affected when diagnosed with dementia is explored in this capstone thesis. With the rise of dementia diagnoses (Goldstein-Levitas, 2016) there is a need for understanding effective approaches to care as emotional components remain intact. The literature highlights the essence of personhood and how person-centered care (PCC) is essential to preventing isolation and impacting a sense of self and well-being (Killick, 2004). Meeting spiritual needs in the sense of hope and purpose may also improve quality of life and delay symptoms. Dance/movement therapy (DMT) is specifically highlighted as an effective approach as sessions incorporate the components to physically, emotionally, and spiritually stimulate the individual with dementia. A DMT intervention was developed and implemented at an assisted living facility in the Boston area within a specific unit dedicated to the care of residents who had a primary diagnosis of mild to severe dementia. A Chacian framework is used with sensory stimulation techniques to address physiological needs. Results indicated positive experiences from observations and merited the need to conduct more research to credit DMT’s effectiveness with geriatric populations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




The author owns the copyright to this work.