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Dancing with Dementia

Published by Tory Lawrence
Healthy Lifestyle Co-ordinator
Fit as a fiddle
Telephone 07901 635 033

Movement to music sessions at a sheltered housing scheme in Worthing

Dancing with Dementia

Our delivery partners are...

Age Concern ‘fit as a fiddle', Guildcare, Worthing Borough Council, Leonie Haines, staff members at Lindfield House

We have funding and support from...

‘Fit as a fiddle' is a national programme supported by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund and delivered by Age Concern. It aims to improve the health and wellbeing of older people, promoting physical activity, healthy eating and developing ‘active networks' for the over-50s

The project is located in...

Worthing, West Sussex 

The start and finish dates of the project are...

8 week period during January 2009-March 2009

The people helped are...

The active network is aimed at over-50s who are currently not undertaking much exercise, have an interest in dance and maybe socially isolated.

What they have said is...

This is great fun, I have not laughed so much for ages and it helps me build up my appetite'

We set up the project because...

  • Many residents in the scheme would like to do some form of physical activity, but did not have the confidence or opportunity to do so.
  • The activity gets the residents of the Lindfield Care Home interacting together, which will help to develop a stronger community within the home
  • There are varying abilities within the group and all can be involved in the activity at their own ability level
  • Reducing the barriers to participation, as the activity takes place in the home and with residents who are your friends.

The difference this project makes is...

  • Encourage residents to become involved in other types of physical activity
  • Improve the quality of life of the participants through improving strength, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and energy levels.
  • To develop a social group that can help reduce social isolation and provide support to each other.
  • To provide a wider range of activities, rather than just your traditional activities for older people.
  • To provide sensory stimulation through the various types of equipment used and music they use to listen to in their younger years

What we did or are doing

Fit as a fiddle in partnership with Guildcare and Worthing Borough Council are supporting 8 free sessions at Lindfield Care Home. Leonie Haines leads the sessions with support from the care staff at the home. Each week, Leonie would lead the movement sessions, incorporating various pieces equipment to work the different areas of the body. Leonie, would explain each technique and benefit of the movements to the residents, which enhanced their confidence and made them all feel part of the group.


As the weeks progressed, the numbers of resident involved increased, especially as laughter could be heard all around the home during the sessions. The support workers played an important part in the sessions, providing support to Leonie and residents. A day workshop was arranged for 10 staff/support workers from Lindfield Care Home by Leonie Haines supported by the fit as a fiddle project. The workshop will enable the support workers to continue the movement to music sessions once the 8 sessions have concluded

We chose this method because...

Wanted to provide a fun and sociable method of re-introducing physical activity into the residents lives.

What's happened is...

The project was run over an eight week period, the sessions will continue to regularly occur at Lindfield House, being led by the staff and support workers further to them completing a workshop training day as part of the Fit as a Fiddle project. Due to the success and interest from the residents, Guildcare, Worthing Borough Council and fit as a fiddle would like to replicate this project in other homes and areas

What we'd do differently...

The group only had one male involved in the sessions, so in future will look at methods to encourage males to take part in the sessions


All participants completed a monitoring form at the start of the project and an evaluation form at the final session. A ‘Fit as a fiddle' staff member visits the group to evaluate the progress of the group, speaking with the participants and instructors.

This project helped to deliver...

The key aims for the fit as a fiddle project, working in partnership, having training opportunities and making projects sustainable

The project is now...


Additional information or comments?


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Lead Organisation Worthing Borough Council
Geographical Area West Sussex
Outcomes Community cohesion, Developing talent, Improving health, Increasing participation
Beneficiary Age Older People (Over 60)
Beneficiary Groups People at risk of mental health problems, People suffering from chronic disease or condition e.g. CHD, diabetes, osteoporosis, People with physical or learning disabilities, Socially isolated older people, Volunteers
Type of activity Equalities and inclusion
Primary Theme Mental Wellbeing
Secondary Themes Physical Activity



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