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Dance4Healing: dance for healthier, happier, and smarter living. Updated 12/26: Deck, Prototype, and Videos: 1.Story. 2.Caregiver Insights.

AI-powered tele-exercise live video platform designed to strengthen bonds, stay connected and active, and build healthy habits in a fun way.

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it better support family caregivers as they care for a loved one with dementia?

Our idea is designed for caregivers taking care of a loved one with early and mid-stage dementia. My mother, at age 72, became my caregiver while I was fighting stage IV cancer. During this difficult time, I felt guilty that I made her age a lot, and today I worry more about her as she turns 77, especially recently when I had to take her to the ER and she became hospitalized. This dynamic role shift has enabled me to see how scary and stressful caregiving can be.

UPDATED: Please See our DECK and Refined Prototype.

Keep people at the center:

We practice empathy-driven behavior design, and are mentored by David Kelley, Dennis Boyle (IDEO), and BJ Fogg (Stanford Behavior Design expert). Based on Fogg’s Behavior Model, we increase ability by offering dance videos recorded from our in person class, enabling 24/7 access. We create effective behavior triggers, and put hot triggers in front of motivated people. Research shows people perform better in a group, but really excel with a buddy. In addition to group live video class, we also provide buddy matching.

Biotracking, Data and Proprietary Algorithms: 

We use AI to recommend personalized music and dance, as well as match caregivers with buddies and groups to optimize the participants’ experience. We won Stanford Health++ Hackathon: Intel Nervana AI Cluster Grand Prize for this feature. We also track how many classes caregivers attend, how long they dance, which videos they use, and how they feel before and afterwards. We are also planning to partner with other companies to incorporate sensor tracking. We are advised by Stanford professor Dolores Thompson, who is most noted for her empirical studies on the efficacy of psychoeducational interventions to reduce stress and improve the psychological status of family caregivers of older adults with dementia. Based on her advice, we will also use Zarit Burden Scale Short and CESD-10. 


Are affordable: 

We only require wifi and a computer with a camera. 

Naturally Integrate: 

We use technology to bring two of the most ancient healing modalities to in-home care, music and dance are known to create strong bonds.


We are working with OnLok to launch a program designed to reduce anxiety and depression for dementia patients and their caregivers. We plan to scale that to 233 PACE (Programs of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) centers nationwide, serving over 40,000 participants. OnLok founded PACE for the federal government and it is internationally recognized as an eldercare leader. PACE is also praised by caregivers for relieving burden, offering breaks, enabling a better focus on mental and physical health, and allowing them to spend more time with their families.

Dance4Healing supports caregivers in 5 areas:

1. Alleviate burden by helping manage complex behaviors of the care-recipient: 

Research shows dancing increases oxytocin, and reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. The Alzheimer’s Society recommends music and dance to help reduce agitation and aggressive behavior. 

2. Empower them with tools to stimulate care-recipients’ sensory, cognitive, and social activities: 

Research shows dancing reduces the risk of dementia by 76%, cardiovascular death by 46%. It improves balance by 50%, prevents falling, and reduces pain. Hand/finger exercises increase motor skills, brain communication efficiency, coordination, and timing. See this link for astonishing clinical researches on power of Creative Arts Therapy for various disease.

3. Strengthen the bond that may be strained by role-reversal:

Music and dance can reduce tensions, foster quality time, cultivate treasured moments of clarity, ignite joy and bonding, and create meaningful memories that surpass time and space, and alleviate some of the challenges of caregiving. 

4. Instill a sense of purpose, enable emotional and physical resilience:

Dance not only is a powerful mental and physical exercise, but it is also an artistic expression of the human body that enables caregivers to express their difficulties and uplift their sense of purpose and fulfillment. 

5. Better in-home care and reduction of social isolation:

Our platform is designed to bring creative arts therapy into home care settings:

-Telehealth Live Video Platform: uses WebRTC (Real Time Communication) technology, which won Best Use of AT&T Enhanced WebRTC top prize.  Dance4Healing offers in-person and online dance classes. These classes are filmed, edited, and then posted on our platform.  This enables caregivers and their loved ones to dance alone, with family, friends, or a matching buddy, anytime and anywhere.

-Action-Driven Caregiver Communities: We connect caregivers and elders similar to “Patients Like Me” by enticing them to dance together through our “buddy matching” system. This system matches caregivers based on personality, energy level, taste in music and dance, and most importantly health conditions.  

-Cross-Generation Matching: Imagine how happy a grandparent could be dancing with their grandchildren, like the persona Yessenia provided by Dance4Healing utilizes gamification and social encouragement to increase patient engagement.  62% of teenagers feel lonely, but by connecting them to grandparents, we reduce the caregiver’s burden in care for their kids, as shared in AgingWellHub’s journey map. Teenages can also help elders with technology adoptions. 

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We conducted >100 interviews and tested our product in elder centers across SF. Our research revealed two most popular activities in elder centers. 1. music and dance, and 2. cross-generation activities. We are applying for Chan Zuckerberg Initiative community fund with two local non-profits to set up a cross-generation program. University AME Zion Church is the oldest African American church in Palo Alto, already offer tech education program. InATalent brings teenagers to dance with seniors.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

We were amazed by the data in the design brief, especially the personas provided by, and the journey map provided by AgingWellHub. We are excited to see countless great ideas submitted to the site and already see opportunities for potential collaboration. We are grateful that our favorite company, IDEO, has a similar focus that is so close to our heart. We look forward to benefitting from OpenIDEO’s incredible resources and using them to build out and refine our idea.

How long has your idea existed?

  • Over 1 year

This idea emerged from

  • A student collaboration

Tell us about your work experience:

I have an extensive background in human-centered design for brands like Yahoo, AT&T, VW, and Sony. Stage IV cancer pushed me to dedicate my life to innovate and improve both patient and caregiver experience. I was also trained in social entrepreneurship at Stanford and Singularity University.

How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone?

Caregiving can be very stressful. Dance4Healing is an AI-powered tele-exercise platform designed to strengthen bonds, stay connected, increase accessibility to group exercise, and build healthy habits in a fun way. Our mission is to reduce caregivers’ stress, combat isolation, and improve both emotional and physical health by bringing dance, community, and cross-generational support to home care.

How does your idea demonstrate our Criteria of Accessibility?

Dance4Healing is designed for accessibility with a tiered model. Our target customers are Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, Medicare Advantage Plans, and Elder Centers. The basic platform with 40 pre-recorded dance videos is $250/month/location. Caregivers can access the platform at elder centers or from home with no charge. Customized content can be created based on their preference to increase engagement. All the programs only need a computer, wifi, and willing participants!

How does your idea demonstrate or plan to demonstrate scalability?

We are working with OnLok to launch a program designed to reduce anxiety and depression for dementia patients and caregivers. We plan to scale to 233 PACE centers nationwide, serving over 40,000 participants. OnLok founded PACE for the government and is internationally recognized as an eldercare leader. PACE also relieves the burden of caregivers by offering breaks that enable them to better focus on their mental and physical health, and allowing them to spend more time with their families.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

Impact will be measured by tracking how many classes caregivers attend, how long they dance, which videos they use, and how they feel before and afterwards. Sensor tracking will be implemented via partnership. Clinical measurements like Zarit Burden Scale Short and CESD-10 has been recommended by our clinical partner, Stanford professor Dolores Thompson, expert on reduce stress, anxiety and depression for dementia family caregivers, a 25 year Geropsychologist and NIH funded researcher.

What are your immediate next steps after the Challenge?

Our next steps are working with partners and potential funders. 1. OnLok, launch an anxiety and depression reduction program for dementia patients/caregivers. 2. Avenidas, start test the program at their centers. 3. RWJF: advised by program officer Michael Painter to apply for pioneer grant. 4. Moore Foundation: encouraged by President Harvey Fineberg to apply for community health grant. 5. Chan Zuckerberg Fund, launch an intergenerational program pending the result of our grant application.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Linda MacDonald Glenn

What a great idea! I think I will use this to invite my friends to a dance party for my birthday!

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