In The News
March 7, 2019

Music Therapy for Veterans

TEMPLE, Texas – For many veterans, life in a nursing home can be challenging – but the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home in Temple is changing lives and bringing life back to the people who served our country.

The headphones these veterans use come from the Alive Inside Coalition, and they can use them anytime and anywhere to listen to their favorite music.

“Oh yeah, I love listening to good music,” says Jake Hutto, WWII veteran.

Hutto was stationed in Germany. He loves listening to gospel music.

David Arnold also uses the headphones. He served in the Air Force during the Korean War.

“It’s a joy to see all of them enjoying life and just coming alive,” says Sherron Smith, Activities Director.

Smith brought the idea of using the headphones to the home and says they have made a huge impact on the veterans’ lives.

“The families will come to me and say, ‘Thank you so much for this.’ He didn’t want to come out of his room and do anything, and now he’s trying to come find you and get music on his headphones,” Smith says.

Smith downloads different music to each set of headphones based on the veteran’s preference.

“I love the fact that they have thought about these veterans who were actually around music and love music and that they are able to enjoy that again,” says Saralee Fairburn, daughter of David Arnold.

Many of these veterans battle dementia, Alzheimer’s and PTSD. Smith said one Vietnam veteran explained that music gave him peace.

“He would listen to music from back in that time, and it would calm him whenever there was chaos all around him. And that’s how he feels is chaos inside – but when he listens to the music, it soothes him,” Smith says.

Right now, all residents in the home’s Memory Support Unit have their own headphones.

Smith said the music takes these veterans back to a time they remember.

Currently 36 veterans have headphones, but Smith said she hopes everyone in the home will have their own set by the end of this year.

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