Queensland’s Bupa Merrimac aged care residents are shaking what they were born with as they boogie to weekly Zumba dance classes.
Zumba often involves ‘high-intensity’ dance and aerobic moves, and while the residents may not be able to ‘Zumba’ like an 18-year-old, they give the Latin-inspired dance a whole new meaning.
Bupa Merrimac diversional therapist, Jane Smith, tells DPS News aged care needs to think about moving away from the “passive-type” environment to encouraging more active participation from residents.
Pictured is Bupa Merrimac residents at their weekly zumba classes.
The facility’s Zumba classes, which have been running for the past two months, are often ‘themed’, with rock n’ roll a favourite among residents. Classes are mixed with high and low care residents aged between 64 to 94 years, as well as those who have had strokes or are living with dementia, joining in on the fun.
“Many residents choose to sit on an armchair during the classes, or they can stand. They dance to familiar songs such as ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ‘My Sharona’,” Ms Smith says.
She adds there is a noted difference and “remarkable” improvement in concentration of high care dementia patients taking part in the classes.
“One lady in high care dementia couldn’t cope with the Zumba movements, but we could see movements in her hands and she was singing along; so, everybody is getting something out of it.
“I can’t describe what I feel when I see residents during the classes. It’s a warm feeling inside and I love watching their faces. It’s something new for aged care and if the opportunity arises for other facilities to offer similar programs, they should definitely try it.”
Perhaps just as entertaining is seeing Bupa Merrimac staff trying to zone in on Zumba.
“Residents enjoy seeing us doing the moves with them. We treat them as individuals and they see that they are just like us,” Ms Smith says.
Did you know… there are 12 million people taking weekly Zumba classes in more than 110,000 locations, across more than 125 countries?