Community Musician to Provide Music that Brings Life to Area Seniors
CHICAGO – Research has supported music’s effect on cognitive function of the brain among seniors, especially for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Unity Hospice of Chicagoland recently added a community musician to its comprehensive hospice care team so their patients and area seniors alike can experience these benefits of live music first-hand.
Edgewater Resident and Local Pianist Joyce Renee Walker joined Unity Hospice as a community musician to provide music for inner-city seniors. In 2013, Walker was a Red Carpet host at the Chicago Music Awards and her band, the Joyce Renee Walker Band, was nominated twice in the “Best Band” category. Additionally, the Joyce Renee Walker Band plays at the City of Chicago Mayor’s Nights Out In The Park Program and for Loyola University’s Community Affairs Association. In between her main shows throughout the year, Walker will perform at various music festivals and parks throughout the city as well as in Chicago-area Mariano’s grocery stores.
But, her music career began long before these performances.
At the age of five years old, Walker began taking formal piano lessons. By the age of ten, she was playing for church choirs and community events. As she matured, she discovered her passion for jazz and classic R&B genres, and revealed her dream to share her music with the world.
In her role as community musician with Unity Hospice, Walker performs several times per month at area nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Resident favorites include “New York, New York” and “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra.
However, being a musician has not always been her dream job. A Chicago native, Walker attended University of Illinois at Chicago where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication which supported her original plan of being a social worker. Walker adds, “My piano playing paired with my enjoyment of meeting new people and my trouble shooting and problem solving skills that were taught to me have all been leading up to this moment when I can share my passion with people who appreciate it most.”
Over the years, Walker began stepping away from her professional career to build upon her next chapter in life: her music career. “When I tell people that I started my music career later in life, they’re surprised. It’s never too late to live your dreams. I have finally found my niche,” admits Walker.
“Providing music for elderly folks is pure gratification for me. It’s so great to be a part of Unity Hospice’s mission to provide care for the whole self, to not only patients but the community as well,” states Walker. “When I’m doing an event with seniors, they are my kings and queens for the day. They are what drive me, because they deserve to have the best quality performance so they can leave the room with a smile.”
“This isn’t a job – it’s a passion,” she concludes.
To learn more about the benefits of music programs for seniors, please visit The Unity Difference page on our website.
To read more about Walker’s Chicago music career, or to view a schedule of Joyce Renee’s upcoming performances, visit her website at www.joyce4renee.com.
About Unity Hospice
Founded in 1992, Unity Hospice is a family owned and operated hospice and palliative care company committed to providing comprehensive care, support and education to people facing a life-limiting illness, those who care for them and the community. Unity Hospice offers care of the highest quality by licensed and competent staff in accordance with laws & regulations and accepted standards of practice. With the dedication to make their patients’ days comfortable, Unity Hospice provides an interdisciplinary approach to each individual and family, in which they go above and beyond everyday to meet their needs.