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Geras Dance

The Geras Dance Team is making a difference in the aging population one step at a time. Meet George Ioannidis, PhD, Deputy Director of the GERAS Centre for Aging Research, and an associate professor at McMaster University. He is also one of the co-creators of GERAS Dance, a project aimed at enhancing the well-being of older adults. Joining him in this mission are his esteemed team members: Patricia Hewston, PhD, Alexandra Papaioannou, MD, and Courtney Kennedy, PhD. 

At the GERAS Centre for Aging Research, the team is dedicated to conducting research that directly benefits older adults, with a keen focus on translating their findings into frontline care quickly. GERAS Dance began by recruiting older adults living with frailty and mild cognitive impairment to participate in a unique therapeutic program. Developed by a team of geriatric researchers and rehabilitation experts, GERAS Dance engages participants in a dance-based program that stimulates brain activity, requiring concentration on music and choreographed steps. 

The team found great value in the Residency program at The Clinic. They appreciated the opportunity to interact with the other participants and entrepreneurs, discussing challenges, and innovative solutions within the entrepreneurial space. The mentorship and coaching provided in the residency, along with insights from guest speakers, added significant value to their experience. 

GERAS Dance has gained substantial traction over the years, with approximately 750 older adult participants across Canada having completed the program. Currently available at five YMCA sites in the Hamilton region, they aim to extend its impact to retirement homes and Alzheimer’s society centers. Their goal is to reach older adults in various settings, ensuring many individuals as possible can benefit from this innovative and effective program.