A retired caregiver provides comfort to patients through the power of music

A former health care aide, Penny Cooper continues to give back to the residents and families at St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital in Edmonton. Every Thursday she plays the Celtic harp on the palliative unit. Penny decided to share her love of the instrument after taking courses on the therapeutic benefits of music. “I find it relaxing and it gives me inspiration to learn more. You’re never too old to learn,” says Penny.

The joy music can bring is in full evidence over the holiday season. For many, Penny’s soothing presence is a gift. “Most patients like to hear Christmas music,” says Penny. “Sometimes when you’re playing music for them, they come out of their shell.  For a moment in time, especially for the Alzheimer patients, they can remember back to when they first heard the Christmas song.”

Penny Cooper

Penny has had a long standing interest in the Celtic harp. She first heard one in the 1960s while watching television, when a performer from Nova Scotia caught her ear. She was immediately drawn to the sound. It was not until the 1980s that she bought a harp of her own so that she could share its soothing sounds with others. 

Contribute to The Vital Beat

Have a story to share about health care? An idea for an article? We value all contributions.

Submit an idea