Residents, families and staff at Levin's Bupa Te Whanau Care Home got dressed up to the nines to take part in a special nationwide event held annually each July.

Shall We Dance Masquerade Ball was held at the Levin residence as well as at 47 other Bupa care homes throughout the country this month.

The event is designed to encourage residents to keep moving through all forms of dance to promote physical and mental health benefits, said Bupa media and external relations manager Robert Walker.

The care home had been working on masks for the ball over the week leading up to it, Walker said, and Bupa Te Whanau Care Home diversional therapist Tracey Stevens had decked out the lounge area with decorative lights and a vinyl record player.


Musical favourites on the day included well-known hits from Elvis Presley and Perry Como among other classic songs.

Resident Betsy Harvey said she loved the opportunity to dance the afternoon away to music.

"I love to dance and it takes me back to my Te Horo dance hall days when I was young," she said

University of Auckland Professor Ngaire Kerse, who has worked on a number of New Zealand research projects in improving the health and wellbeing of older people as well as falls prevention, said dance and movement is beneficial to all groups of people later in life.

"Dancing is very cognitively stimulating and can improve cardiovascular health in older people. It also keeps the brain healthy and engaged too," she said.

Te Whanau Care Home is the home of up to 65 residents and runs a programme of activities for residents that also tie in to health and wellbeing objectives, including inter-rest home games, pottery, arts and crafts and dance groups.

The masquerade ball is a highly anticipated event on the home's calendar.