Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Dance/Movement Therapy


Dance/Movement Therapy Graduate Program


As the elderly population continues to grow, there is new importance put on changing perceptions of the aging process. Long-term care in the form of nursing homes are seeing a shift in life expectancy as elderly individuals are living well into their eighties and nighties. This brings to light a lot of difficulties for the aging population who are experiencing major physical and cognitive declines. This also shows gaps in nursing home care when looking at the needs of elderly individuals who are facing their mortality. The medicalization of long-term care has put an emphasis on prolonging life, but is not working to help the entire individual, both body and mind. Examining Erikson’s theory provides psychosocial context for the need of holistic care. Self-management practices take Erikson’s work and apply the psychosocial stages to realistic goals for today’s elderly. The challenge is to find an approach that meets the physical, emotional, social, and cognitive needs of this elderly population. Dance/movement therapy (DMT) works as an age-specific discipline that accomplishes the numerous goals the aging elderly have. DMT works to repair the connection of mind and body to help this population find satisfaction in their final days.