By Steve Moran
I have seen this video clip of residents posted, reposted, and shared multiple times. It would be fair to say that it has gone viral. 240,000 likes, 572,000 shares, 79,000 comments, and, of course, millions of views.
I scrolled through several dozen posts and they were 100% on the affirmation side, including a number of people who posted things like “that is the kind of place I want to go when I get old.”
So maybe I am 100% wrong about this.
But I found myself thinking if that is what I have to look forward to when I am 85, just shoot me. And yet, it is hard to argue that “beer pong” played by college students or line dancing for those who are middle age, is any better than this. I would also note that, for all the derision about bingo for candy bars and other small gifts, if you canceled bingo there would be a group of residents who would be rioting in the hallways to bring it back.
I also admit this is a lot more appealing than a lot of other things I see called life enrichment on the internet.
Older People . . .
I did some investigating, talking to several older people (70+), and asked them what they thought. I couldn’t actually find anyone who was looking forward to being part of a group like this.
And I got this email from a resident, talking about life enrichment in the context of an article about the book “Life in the Old Folks Home” authored by Doug Richie, a friend of our very own Jack Cumming, not the drum video:
I think you would do a great service to name a few of residents’ self-directed activities in this article. I know it’s a tease to buy the book but if he is going to say he attended bingo and social hour I’m going to scream!
This covid nightmare has senior communities posting Facebook photos of residents playing hallway bingo, costumed employees, happy hour carts, even shooting employees with nerf balls!!
Come on! No one ever ever ever does these stupid things in their homes! I have friends and relatives in their 80s-90s and these posts and dumb activities advertised as senior living are disrespectful!
It makes a mockery of growing older! To age means endless bingo — and one place has assisted living residents not memory care pretending to ice fish with kids plastic fishing poles over a plastic tarp of plastic fish!
This makes my head explode!!
These places run Facebook ads of seniors having oil painting shows, but day-to-day their activities calendar is bingo, endless trivia, and balloon toss!
Thanks for listening.
It Is Complex
In real life, outside of senior living, people have a huge variety of interests, passions, and pastimes. And mostly we don’t spend very much time thinking about, let alone imagining, what life at 80, 90, or 100 might look like day-to-day.
While these activities fill calendars and have some participation, maybe there are better ways to make the lives of residents meaningful.
We have recently announced Evolve 2021, a virtual event that kicks off on April 6 with Dr. Bill Thomas, where we are exploring how we can make life enrichment more compelling for residents AND FOR PROSPECTS. The price is cheaper than it should be, but we are offering this event to change the world, not to get rich.
It will change the face of senior living.