Parkinson’s patients use dance to cope with disease

Good Day Dakota

Nearly one million people in the US will be living with Parkinson’s Disease by 2020. Although there has not yet been a cure for Parkinson’s, with the right treatment people diagnosed can still live enjoyable lives.

Throughout the month of April, Touchmark is hosting dance classes for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Dancing isn’t just a great way to bring a smile to people’s faces, but something that can help people cope with Parkinson’s Disease.
 
The Life Enrichment coordinator at Touchmark says dancing keeps neuro pathways alive and boost dopamine levels. This helps increase everyday functional movements.
 
Life Enrichment Coordinator, Amanda Arso says, “The way I see it with dance and movement is its free expression and its the ability to stay physical but also with movement you are bringing in socializing, all the connections in your brain is helping with cognitive thinking and its a release of feelings of emotions and expressions.”
 
She says the dance classes help people deal with Parkinson’s daily struggles.
 
“Another individual mentioned that I was more aware of how I was walking. My husband and I went on a walk and I was really focusing on the basic movement of a step…sometimes you don’t realize when you miss some of that movement pattern,” says Arso. 
 
Sharon Ellsworth was diagnosed with Parkinson’s less than a year ago, and says the class has been an incredible help.
 
“I’m more aware especially of my walking as putting the foot on the ground– it really made me aware of how I should be walking,” says Ellsworth.
 
Ellsworth adds her favorite dance has been the twist and encourages others to give it try.
 
“It is overwhelming but just one day at a time,” says Ellsworth. 
 
Arso adds, “If I can bring a sense of joy to someone just to enhance their daily living in that aspect, that just enhances the life-sustaining ability to wanna be here.”
 
Arso says she hopes to bring in some tango and salsa dances in the future as well. The classes are open to everyone and for more information, click here
 
 

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