Miurel Price: Dancing With the Elderly, For Their Health

Miurel Price

For senior citizens in assisted living housing, health is more than fighting disease.  Cardea Fellow and senior Miurel Price believes it can be about the joy of dance and of physical movement.

Price is a Program II major studying artistic holistic therapies with an emphasis on dance therapy. Holistic medical therapies focus on healing the whole person—including their psychological, physical and social needs—rather than a specific disease or issue.

The Fayetteville, N.C., native began working with Grace Healthcare of Durham, a local nursing home, to fulfill a service-learning requirement for a class last school year called aging and health with Deborah Gold, associate professor of medical sociology.

“Sometimes it seems like [the nursing home residents’] autonomy is taken away,” Price said. “I’m excited for them to create their own work and to be in charge of something that is theirs and show them that the opportunities that are possible to feel like you have some type of control over your body and your feelings.”

Currently Price is conducting research for her senior thesis on how different healing therapies, such as dance, art or drumming therapy, interest the nursing home residents and have the largest effect on their health. She will collaborate with nursing home staff to provide music and physical therapy under the guidance of Ava LaVonne Vinesett, associate professor of the practice of dance.

“I felt connected with the residents there,” Price said. “I wanted to give back in a personal way.”

She is currently undergoing the Institutional Review Board process to get approval for the research project and expects to return to the nursing home for the project in the fall. During the summer, she will conduct a research review to determine which dance therapy methods have been used effectively in the past.

Price is a member of United in Praise, a student choir group. She said she will take a year off before applying to medical school and hopes to become a holistic physician.