About the SeniorAdvisor.com 2014 In-Home Innovation Scholarship: We started the scholarship program to bring awareness of the unique benefits and challenges of in-home caregiving for seniors to younger generations. The questions posed by the scholarship encouraged our nation’s future caregivers to present solutions for improving home care in the United States. College-aged students were required to answer one of the three essay topics below and provide a short bio as part of their scholarship application. Read the winning essays here.

 How can your major of study improve the lives of seniors receiving in-home care services?

Essay response by Christopher McIntuff, Belmont University

My major is Music Therapy, which is a growing career in the medical field. Music therapy is using music in a clinical setting in a therapeutic way to help comfort or rehabilitate a patient to improve their overall health or morale. The power that music has on the brain is extraordinary. The aid that music can have on a patient with Alzheimer’s can change the way that people see the disease. Music can bring a person back to a certain moment and make them remember faster than anything else.  There are plenty of stories of people who cannot even remember their own name hearing a song played and suddenly remembering every detail about a place or time that they heard that song. Music is can also be comforting in hospice care. Using songs of hope or happiness can help a person deal with being terminal. The power of song can bring a person to a happier place and time if they so wish.

Music therapy can be used with all age groups and tons of different situations, but working with the elderly could be one of the most beneficial areas of work. Singing has been shown to lift people up in times of sadness or illness and could improve the overall health of the elderly. Most people near the end of their lives have seen enough doctors and nurses to last a lifetime. What they need is someone who can do something that they can enjoy and not feel like they are seeing just another doctor. Music therapy can be just as beneficial in some cases as seeing a doctor. One of the best parts of music therapy is that most of the time they can come to you and do just the same work as if you came to them.

Whether ill or not most people enjoy a little music every once in a while. Music is unavoidable and no matter what almost all people have some form of music that they enjoy. A visit from a music therapist could give people the enjoyment of escaping life through song. Around Christmas time carolers normally make an appearance at their local nursing homes to spread some cheer to those who may not have family to celebrate with or those who simply like listening to the music. Music therapists do this year round somewhat.

This coming semester I will get to experience firsthand how a music therapist works in a nursing home environment while I do my observations every week. I am excited to see how playing music can affect elderly people in a positive way. All I know is that I want to do some good in this world using music, and nursing homes is as good a place to start as any. I’m sure that having music therapy become more common in nursing homes around the country would greatly benefit the older community. I am excited to get out there and start changing lives and see firsthand how much a simple song can change someone’s life.


About Christopher

Christopher is a freshman student studying Music Therapy at Belmont University in Nashville TN.

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