Shall we dance? Older adults’ perspectives on the feasibility of a dance intervention for cognitive function

We explored perceptions of social dance as a possible intervention to improve cognitive functioning in older adults with subjective memory complaints. Thirty participants (19 female; M age = 72.6; SD=8.2) took part in the study. This included 21 participants who had self-reported subjective memory complaints and 9 spouses who noticed spousal memory loss. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Three main themes were constructed: 1) dance seen as a means of promoting social interaction; 2) chronic illness as a barrier and facilitator to participation; 3) social dance representing nostalgic connections to the past. Overall, the participants were positive about the potential attractiveness of social dance to improve cognitive and social functioning and other aspects of health. It is important in future research to examine the feasibility of a social dance intervention among older adults with subjective memory complaints.