Haley Jenkins did not have what most would consider to be the average college experience. The music major from Iowa’s Drake University spent a semester not in a dorm room but at a Lifespace retirement community. As part of a 2016 partnership between Drake and Deerfield, our sister community located in Urbandale, Iowa, Haley received free room and board in exchange for putting on musical shows for residents.
The story received national attention, and Haley got more than her 15 minutes of fame, forging intergenerational friendships and developing a passion for seniors. When Haley’s boyfriend asked her to join him in Florida earlier this year, she decided to pursue a career here at Harbour’s Edge. Haley has now brought her skills and experience to a new role as lifestyle assistant in the Harbour’s Edge health center. She also has continued singing and is working on building that talent into her new career.
According to research from the University of Florida, intergenerational partnerships benefit both seniors and their younger counterparts. Couple that with Haley’s passion for music therapy, and it’s a win-win.
Medical experts maintain, “Music therapy has demonstrated incredible benefits, especially for those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia,” explained Haley. “I developed a love of senior living when I was at Deerfield, so I am passionate about incorporating my musical abilities into my new role”
[In photo: Haley Jenkins, lifestyle assistant at Harbour’s Edge.]