Care Partnering, Teepa Snow, Tips, tools & skills, Videos

10 quick tips to help you tango not tangle

Teepa Snow_ tango don't tangle

“If you want to change the dance, you’ve got to change the steps,” is a great coaching quote I learned way back when, and the most important part of the lesson is that the steps you must change are your own.

Here are 10 dance-inspired tips to help you tango instead of tangle with your dementia care partner:

  1. Let them lead
  2. Play music they like
  3. Look into their eyes
  4. Adjust your steps to fit theirs
  5. Take their hand
  6. Don’t hold on too tight
  7. Be light on your feet
  8. Guide only if and when required
  9. Relax and smile
  10. Twirl occasionally, just for fun

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Additional inspiration on the same theme with renowned Hollywood lindy hop and jitterbg dancer Jean Veloz at her 90th birthday party in 2014 (she makes it look so easy):


Here’s Veloz in a similar number in her “younger” days:




7 dementia care basics from Teepa Snow

5 top dementia care tips from Teepa Snow

10 ways to calm a dementia care crisis

13 expert tips to help with “I want to go home”

10 tips to deal with hallucinations

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More dance-inspired posts here.

Teepa Snow’s videos are available on Amazon here.

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6 thoughts on “10 quick tips to help you tango not tangle”

  1. The combination of music and human touch are core components of reaching into the soul of people with dementia. While these tips are great and seem to be focused on those in early stages, we have seen little “miracles” in the advanced stages as well. People who rarely open their eyes or stand will do amazing things when we combine music with a caregivers touch as they hold them in a dance position and sway to the music. A small “miracle” is not an exaggeration. We have watched people open their eyes, smile and sway to the music. Something no one had seen or expected in a while.


    1. “The combination of music and human touch are core components of reaching into the soul of people with dementia.”

      Yes, that’s true. I’ve seen it myself. Music is powerful for most people who live with dementia regardless of what “stage” they are at.


  2. These articles do provide insight BUT…
    Very rarely do the articles focus on my journey.
    My Mom sits in a wheel chair, will not walk, and has not spoken in 2 years. She can’t feed herself, can’t drink by herself. If you give her water, very little gets swallowed the majority runs down the front of her shirt.
    She has zero interest and zero attention span. She does not respond to TV or music. She wants to sleep 24/7.
    I need advice on how to continue on in this journey that appears to never have an end.


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