Maggie’s favorite times were when her granddaughter, Brianna, would come to visit. Brianna called her Nana. They would have talks about life including what was happening at school and with her friends. She would often whisper to her Nana about a boy she liked and something he had said to her. Their relationship was close and loving. Brianna had been enjoying dance classes and was learning new ballet and jazz steps and loved to perform for her Nana. They would laugh and Nana would get up and try the same steps. It reminded her of how much she loved her dance lessons when she was a little girl. They would talk about the counts for the choreography and Nana started to find this was the things she most looked forward to when she knew Brianna was coming.

Maggie was able to attend Brianna’s dance recitals and even was invited backstage to see the whole class as they were waiting to go onstage for a big number. Maggie loved it! When she was at home, alone, she would find herself doing a pliĆ© or small pirouette when cooking dinner or washing dishes. She would hold the counter and stretch and bend. It felt good, and she noticed a bit of a bounce coming back in her steps.

On one of Brianna’s visits, she asked if the school had classes for adults and was told that they would ask. She eagerly awaited the answer and learned that there was one adult class in hip hop. Maggie was a bit unsure that hip hop would be the right class for her, but she was invited to go and observe the class to see if she might enjoy it. Oh, she loved it. The beat was enjoyable, and she understood how the steps were being counted. She was nervous about her balance and whether she could really do the steps, especially the fast ones. The instructor talked with Maggie and offered to do a one-on-one class with her after the other classes were done on Saturday to try it a little bit and see what she thought of it.

At first Maggie was a bit nervous but the instructor had her hold onto the ballet barre that was in the same room and try some basic steps with the barre to keep balance. As they practiced, Maggie could feel the continuity of ballet and jazz combining into the hip hop dancing and she really enjoyed herself. A new beginner class was starting in one week and the instructor told her that she would love to have her in the class. She reassured her that Maggie could dance near the barre and see how she was doing, she could sit out whenever she needed to, and she was under no obligation to push herself.

Maggie excelled and was the highlight of the adult class recital performance. Everyone learned her name and cheered her on. They seemed to love seeing an older woman enjoying her life and not letting aging get in the way of pursuing something she enjoyed. Maggie became a regular participant at the school, dancing in adult classes and helping prepare children for their recital numbers. She was a beloved member, and her involvement kept her close to Brianna. Their shared interest in dance was the highlight of their visits and Brianna would often pick Maggie up on the way to the school so she could socialize and watch Brianna practice.

Maggie’s ability to pursue an interest and not be held back by aging is a great example for all of us. If you would like to learn more about how dance can benefit the aging body, check out the studies done by Frontiers in Psychology.

Is there another type of activity that you, or your aging family member, would enjoy that you would like help pursuing? Please reach out to us at 610-667-2838 or email us at CareManagement@waverlyheights.org and we’ll be happy to assist reaching that goal.