Moving Towards Wellness in Long-term Care: Considerations for Dementia-Associated Aggression

  • Natasha Goldstein-LevitasEmail author


Dementia is a debilitating and progressive neurodegenerative condition expected to affect over 13 million Americans by 2050 (Mitchell et al. in N Engl J Med 361:1529–1538, 2009) and 132 million individuals worldwide (Prince et al. in Alzheimer’s Res Ther 8(1):23, 2016). Characterized by cognitive and physical loss and change, and loss of one’s sense of self, this illness significantly impairs the ability to communicate needs and discomfort successfully; aggressive behaviors are common and may affect overall well-being. Dementia-associated aggression often leads to care facility placement, may contribute to care partner burden, and significantly increases healthcare costs. Dance/movement therapy (DMT) influences physical, psychological, and cognitive behavior, supports productive self-expression, and helps to improve quality of life. This article sheds light on some challenges within the long-term care environment and affirms that DMT, as a complementary approach, is a beneficial, cost-efficient, and non-pharmacologic modality for the treatment of dementia-associated aggression for older adults in these settings.


Aggression Dance/movement therapy Dementia Long-term care 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by this author.


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© American Dance Therapy Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PhiladelphiaUSA

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