Disabled keep active through dance

Amputees show off their dance moves as part of the physiotherapy programme.

Elders got into the rhythm during a dance programme at the Retreat day hospital, last week.

The seniors, including amputees, arthritis patients and stroke convalescents, took part in the Dance Day with a Difference programme, organised by the hospital’s physiotherapy department for Heart Awareness Month in September.

“People who have some sort of physical or mental disability are often overlooked when it comes to these things,” said physiotherapist Levona Johnson. “We decided to include the patients who are in our various rehabs to take part in the Dance Day with a Difference programme to show them that even though we’re all differently abled, dancing is an excellent form of exercise, even when you have some limitations.”

She said dancing allowed patients to become fit in the comfort of their home.

“Even if you are paralysed, it’s important to move, with some help of course. This then helps with circulation of the blood which then helps with your heart. If you do not move it will worsen your situation,” she said.

Amina Dollie, 80, from Hillview, had a stroke four years ago and lost feeling in the left side of her body.

“Before my stroke, I walked everywhere and enjoyed being outside. Then I had to depend on others to take me wherever I want to go,” said Ms Dollie.

The pensioner became healthier but broke her hip last year when she fell. She then had a hip replacement and slowly regained her strength.

“When I started physiotherapy, I was so weak, but now I have become a lot stronger. I encourage people to keep active because it helps to keep them healthy.”

Jane Hendricks, 55, had her leg amputated in September last year after an ingrown toenail led to an infection that led to gangrene.

“I was very active before my amputation, so it was difficult to get used to needing help with almost everything,” she said. “”When I joined physio and started moving, I became a lot more self sufficient,” she said.

She encouraged others to get up and get moving. “It’s not easy, but they need to keep their bodies active and their hearts healthy to live a full life.”

A healthy diet, physical activity, and cutting out smoking and drinking can reduce the risk of heart disease.