Local Doctor leading national conference on dance and dementia


A dance and movement psychotherapist from the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is a keynote speaker and performer at a two-day national conference in Liverpool, the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

Dr Richard Coaten works in Calderdale’s older people’s mental health services for the local NHS Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability services to people in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.

Richard’s role involves using movement, dance, music, song and reminiscence techniques to help older people with mental health problems maintain their skills and abilities for as long as possible. The work also helps foster relationships and aims to enable people to continue to live independently in the community.

Richard will be among other specialists speaking and performing at ‘Memory: the national conference on dance and dementia’ and will co-lead a forum exploring the impact of dance and the care of those affected by dementia.

Through a series of inspiring keynote speeches and commissioned films and performances, ‘Memory’ will provide delegates with an opportunity to reflect on current practice and new ways forward.

There is a growing interest in how the dance community can contribute to health and wellbeing especially of those with mental health problems such as memory loss. The Department of Health’s National Dementia Strategy (2009) places a central focus on destigmatising dementia, raising awareness, supporting carers, and training and developing care staff.

Richard has recently returned from Canada having been awarded a 2010 Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to lecture and present on this innovative branch of dementia care. The conference will be another opportunity to share his knowledge with other professionals.

Richard said, "This is a great opportunity for care, arts and health professionals to further our knowledge of how dance and dance movement psychotherapy is being used around the country, at the same time as looking at how we might progress the use of it across the Trust. The conference celebrates best practice in this field and brings together a diverse range of artists, health and medical professionals."

To find out more about Richard’s travel fellowship and his work visit his personal blog at http://dancingdoctorstrip.blogspot.com

Local Doctor leading national conference on dance and dementia

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