Never too young to dance - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Meghan Sparks

Never too young to dance

LAKE CITY, MN (KTTC-TV) -- One new program is transforming the way some senior citizens feel.

The Dancing Heart was introduced the the Lake City Nursing Home to improve the residents flexibility, energy, balance, memory recall and desire to interact and so far it's working.

"Ok everybody lets do some dancing."

You're never too old to dance, at least that's what Maria Genne believes.

"Dance is like a doorway," says Genne.

Maria is the creator of The Dancing Heart, a program that combines dancing, storytelling and breathing exercises to engage our older population.

Art Houston says, "I noticed that I didn't do any yawning in the dining room after doing that."

92-year-old Art Houston says this program is the best thing that's come to the Lake City nursing home and has helped him come alive.

Genne says, "We're finding out and what we've been measuring is that it's not only a boost for one's physical agiliyt or ability, it's alos a boost for our cognition, the way we feel about ourselves."

The group meets once a week for 90 minutes and for some brings them back to a time in their past.

"Dancing, I love to dance."

Margaret Berktold says she used to dance every chance she got.

"There's just something, it makes you happy, makes you feel good," says Berktold.

The program is intended to not only help residents with their physical agility, but also help them engage more with other residents.

"This is more than just dancing," says Genne.

So far the residents are catching on, with high hopes for the future.

"I'm going to be able to dance when I get through with this," says Houston.

The Lake City Nursing Home is one of five that received a two year state grant for the program.

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