Elderly and Agile: The Rollator Dance Handbook, recently released by the German Dance Teachers Association (ADTV), tells care home workers how to give dance lessons to rollator users. The book covers everything from rhythm and time keeping exercises to lessons on the foxtrot, waltz, rumba, and samba. It even features a section on dancing while sitting for users who are unable to stand.

The book was inspired by dance classes the ADTV has been running for the past two years at the Frankenhoehe senior citizen home in Mainz, Germany. The classes have been “very well received,” said Cornelia Willius-Senzer, president of the ADTV. “Lots of people were a bit skeptical at first, but as soon as the music started playing their eyes lit up.”

Participants in the dance class range from 80 to over 100 years old. Else Bouche, 89, recalls how important dancing was to her in her youth, a fearful time overshadowed by the second World War. “Everything was destroyed. But we still danced and had fun.”

Marie-Luise Dreyer, 80, said of the dance class, “It takes me out of myself and gives me a bit of a boost.” She also raved about her rollator, saying “I use it to move my washing basket, and it also doubles up as a tea trolley, a shopping aid and a dance partner!”

Rollator dance classes are beginning to spread to the US as well. Look out for them at local community centers and care homes!