Since early this year, Nazareth Home has been partnering with the University of Louisville to bring music therapy to their Highlands campus.
The heartwarming program was brought to fruition by UofL Music Therapist Jessica Rushing, who has been with the university for three years. Rushing was eager to reach out to seniors during a time when so many remain isolated.
The result of this new partnership was a virtual music therapy program that benefited elders and music therapy students alike.
“Offering the UofL music therapy program virtually has been a blessing to the elders. In response to COVID-19, we had to become innovative in how we offer services and activities from outside organizations,” said Activities Assistant Sarah Coode. “While in-person programs can’t be replaced, this virtual option is still very effective in reducing social isolation and improving the mood of elders.”
Most student clinical sites have had increased regulations, and many have had to pause on clinics altogether. By virtually working with the elders at Nazareth Home, UofL’s music therapy students could make an impact while still completing their clinics via video chat.
Rushing says that music is a health resource that individuals need access to at all stages of life and abilities. Musical therapists are unique because they are trained in both the art of music and in the health implications that experiencing music and engaging in it with others can have.
“Music elevates the mood, life associations, and makes accessing memories easier,” Rushing said. “One of the most exciting elements of this program for us, and those at Nazareth Home, was seeing elders suffering from nonverbal conditions becoming engaged enough with the music that they were encouraging others in their community to take a more active role in the program.”
“This year has been difficult for all of us, but there are few who have had a harder time than seniors experiencing heightened isolation during the pandemic. My students and I are so honored that we were able to work with these residents in a meaningful way and give something back during this unprecedented year,” Rushing said.
At Nazareth Home, we are proud to partner with organizations that help us enhance our person-centered approach and innovative focus. Providing programs and activities to enrich the quality of life of those living at Nazareth Home, even if they are virtual, is imperative to creating a nurturing and inviting home that provides top-notch care.