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Project Added:
8 July 2015
Last updated:
21 April 2021



The project established a Move2Music program, which encouraged participants to dance and play games during a two-hour session with staff from Dareton Primary Health Centre.

Six women of different ages enjoying the Move2Music program


To improve physical, mental and cognitive wellbeing and socialisation in older people, using music and dance as therapy.


  • Supports improved memory, behavioural problems, physical and mental health through increased physical activity.
  • Provides consumers who have limited social interaction, to meet others in a neutral and supportive environment.
  • Improves awareness of and access to local health services.

Project status

Pilot project dates: May - July 2014.

Project status: Sustained - the project has been implemented, is sustained in standard business.


The project was an original idea of the Dareton Aged Care Specialist Team, following feedback from staff, community members and service providers that there was a lack of social programs for older people in the local area.

A literature review found that music provided positive physical and mental health benefits in older people, in addition to improved wellbeing. The research suggested that music and physical activity is also associated with an improvement in behavioural issues for people with cognitive and memory issues. Dareton Primary Health found there were no music and dance services for older people in the community and decided to create Move2Music to address this need.


  • An organising committee was formed, with representatives from Dareton Primary Health Centre, Home and Community Care (HACC) and Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (DADHC).
  • A venue and afternoon tea was secured at the Coomealla Club for each session.
  • Three two-hour Move2Music sessions were held over a period of three months, with each session themed to provide a diverse range of sensory experiences for participants.
  • Participants included clients of Dareton Primary Health Centre, carers, partner organisations and interested members of the local community.
  • The project team ensured that all participants could benefit from the session. Those who could dance did so, those without partners were partnered by staff and those in wheelchairs were wheeled around to the music. Others who were unable or choose not to dance were kept company by a healthcare professional and encouraged to chat, sing along or play musical instruments.
  • A photo booth was set up and managed by Aboriginal Health workers, with photos provided to participants and played in a presentation to participants at subsequent sessions.
  • In addition to live music and dancing, games and other sensory experiences were developed to stimulate participants.
  • Participant feedback was received in writing and verbally from participants, carers and service providers. Staff managing the sessions conducted a debrief following each Move2Music session.

Implementation sites

  • Coomealla Club
  • The Mildura Special School for children with disabilities showed an interest in having students from the local area attend in the future.

Participating Residential Aged Care Facilities

  • Murray House, Wentworth
  • BUPA, Mildura
  • Regis Ontario, Mildura
  • Jacaranda Village, Red Cliffs
  • Chaffey Aged Care, Merbein
  • Balranald Multi-Purpose Service, Balranald
  • Mallee Track, Ouyen
  • Wentworth Hospital.

Participating organisations

  • DADHC clients
  • Vision Australia Clients
  • Annecto Clients
  • Meals on Wheels clients.


  • Home and Community Care (HACC) Program
  • Coomealla Club
  • Health Advisory Council
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Dareton Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Service


  • Move2Music had an average of 150 participants per session, with some travelling over 200km to attend.
  • Evaluation surveys showed 100% participant satisfaction with the program, with positive feedback on the music, dances and social interaction. Participants also reported that the therapeutic interactions from healthcare staff and service providers was exceptional and greatly benefited their wellbeing.
  • Residential Aged Care Facilities reported short-term improvements in the behaviour and cognitive function of participating residents as a result of the program.
  • The success of the pilot project has led to ongoing funding which will allow the team to deliver an additional five Move2Music sessions over the next 12 months.
  • The project achieved collaboration between community organisations and provided staff with an opportunity to increase their visibility among the target client group.
  • This project won the Far West Local Health District (FWLHD) 2014 Health Innovation Award.

Lessons Learnt

  • The project can be easily replicated in other communities.
  • Establishing the program was time consuming for staff, however after three successful sessions, planning time has reduced significantly.
  • The number of healthcare staff, service providers and carers available allowed for a comprehensive therapeutic interaction with participants.
  • The venue is accommodating and participant friendly. Many participants enjoy lunch at the club restaurant prior to the session, so they enjoy a social day out.
  • There was a lot of congestion around the elevator before and after Move2Music sessions. We solved this by staggering departures and had staff assist people up and down the stairs where possible. We allocated a staff member to coordinate this transfer.
  • It was difficult at first to find bands and musicians who were flexible and able to work with us to achieve the aims of the program. We are now familiar with those who are happy to work with us and interact well with participants.
  • The project grew from the first pilot session, to include other nursing homes where community members now reside, allowing them to socialise with old friends.

Further reading


Susan CooperClinical Nurse Specialist
Dareton Primary Health Centre
Far West Local Health District
Phone: 03 5021 7200

Kylie Kerslake Registered Nurse
Dareton Primary Health Centre
Far West Local Health District
Phone: 03 5021 7200

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