DANCING queens from a Salford care home have been taken on a fox trot through their lives on the ballroom floor thanks to a special class for those with dementia.
Dancing with Dementia is held at the Swinton Palais, in Manchester, for those with dementia and their carers to meet, enjoy music and dance together.
Amy Sutton, Elsie Hutchinson, Florence Davis, Jean Burton, Doreen Sutton and Edna Guite, all from Alderwood Care Home, on Simpson Road, Worsley, Greater Manchester, were among those strutting their stuff in the famous dance centre.
The session inspired the ladies to have a cha-cha-chat about their favourite memories from the dance floor.
Amy, 90, was encouraged to pursue dancing as a child and has been performing at every opportunity since.
She said: “My dad told me: “if you can dance you will always have friends” – and he was right. I’ve had a good life.
“I always loved dancing. From being young, I went to a youth club to learn to dance. Then, as I got a bit older, I went to Bellevue Dancing and Astoria Dance Club, in Manchester.
“My husband was a good dancer and was one of the staff at a dance hall. We once entered a dance competition and got second place, only because our cha-cha-cha let us down.
“I still like to get up and dance given the opportunity.”
For Elsie, 90, dancing brought her the love of her life. She said: “I always loved to go dancing at Bolton Palais. My mum would say that I was never out of that place.
“I met my husband there as well, as he was on leave from the Navy at the time.”
Dancing sparked a lifelong friendship for Florence, 72, who said: “I always enjoyed going to Swinton Palais. I loved to jive.
“I used to go there all the time with my best friend from school, Ann. Ann now helps to run the Dancing with Dementia in Swinton Palais. I still like to go and watch and support my friend and she comes every week to see me at Alderwood.”
For Jean, Doreen and Edna, their love of dance started with classes at various stages of their lives.
Jean, 86, said: “I went to tap and ballet classes when I was young. I remember having to do a competition in a frilly dress.
“My husband didn’t dance but I’ve always enjoyed watching others dancing.”
Doreen, 89, said: “I learned to dance at a dance school with my husband to be. His mother came with us as well as we weren’t allowed to go on our own.”
Edna, 94, said: “I went to a tap and ballet school in Manchester called Nightingale, which I loved.
“After that, I used to go dancing with my two sisters at the Rialto Dance Hall, in Salford.”
Tina Lowe, activities coordinator at Alderwood Care Home, was one of the staff members who attended the Dancing with Dementia session with the residents.
She said: “The ladies had an absolutely fabulous time. They all really enjoyed themselves and what really shone through was their lifelong love of dance.
“Dancing was a very popular pastime when they were growing up and they all have a history of attending classes, visiting dance halls, entering competitions and some even meeting their future husbands.
“When we got back to the care home, we all sat down for a cuppa and a chat about dancing, and they shared their amazing memories.
“Despite various stages of dementia, they could all recall their dancing days, and you could see how happy it made them.
“Reminiscence sessions like this can have a really positive effect on those living with dementia, lifting their mood and improving their general wellbeing.
“We’ll certainly be attending future Dancing with Dementia sessions and we hope to see as many people there as possible.”
The next two Dancing with Dementia sessions at the Swinton Palais in Manchester take place on 12th August and 9th September 2019.