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A New Era of Entertaining at a Senior Living Community

in Blog, Resident Stories

Spectrum Retirement offers a whole new Senior Living lifestyle.

The change is being led by the tsunami-like wave of Baby Boomers like us. We like to have fun, but we don’t define fun as Bingo, birthdays, and Bible studies. Fortunately, many retirement communities are stepping up to the challenge and redefining what fun looks like. Which is why entertaining at a Senior Living community is easier than ever.

The Tides They Are a-Changin’

It’s an unfortunate misconception that once you make a move into a senior community you no longer have as much freedom to entertain. “If you were used to hosting get-togethers with friends and family, there’s no reason for that to change after moving to a Senior Living community,” says Brad Kraus, president and chief executive officer at Spectrum Retirement. “Those of us in charge of planning entertainment need to focus on designing activities that are elevated, purposeful and the entire family can experience.”

The main consideration when planning activities is to offer a wide variety of choices, says Kraus. Something to fit every interest and ability. “We want to create experiences that will be enjoyable for everyone — not only our residents but their children and grandchildren,” says Kraus. “The goal being to offer an atmosphere that inspires an active and purposeful  lifestyle.”

According to Kraus, Spectrum Retirement is embracing a new philosophy: Age Fearlessly. Live Colorfully.®

Here are some of the activities happening (or in the works) in and around Spectrum Retirement Communities. Directors of entertainment and programming from other senior communities should take note.

The House That Spectrum (Residents) Built

What goes perfectly with a steaming cup of apple cider on a crisp fall day? How about a pile of marshmallows, gumdrops, and candy canes, plus a bucket load of frosting?

Across the country, Spectrum residents, family members, and team members joined creative forces as members of the first annual Gingerbread Design Committee. The home office challenged every community to design and create a one-of-a-kind never-been-tried-before gingerbread house.

Hilliard gingerbread house

“We had a great time building out gingerbread fireplace! Our residents helped us brick and decorate as well as handcraft all decorations. Our structure is about 8/5 feet tall and 4 feet wide,” says Sarah Weisenberger from Hilliard Assisted Living & Memory Care in Hilliard, Ohio.

Danielle Loving of Lake Travis Senior Living in Lake Travis, Texas, says they made a 3-foot-tall gingerbread house. “It’s all edible and we know because residents have been nibbling! It’s made with 600 sugar cookies, six buckets of frosting, 30 pounds of candy and gingerbread from scratch.”

“We decided to recreate Pikes Peak, with the Cog Railway and Santa’s Workshop/The North Pole in Colorado Springs!” says Amanda Rodriguez of Peakview Assisted Living & Memory Care in Centennial, Colorado. “Our residents took part in making plenty of green trees and the village houses, while our directors worked together to create the mountain and train. Overall, a fantastic showcase of Peakview’s team spirit!”

Move Over Alex Trebek

Forget dinner and movie. How about dinner and a game show?

Nothing brings out the smiles like some good old-fashioned competition. Pick a customized version of your favorite television game show and get the entire family can participate in. And remember: Belly laughs are just as good as crunches.

The Fun of Giving Back

Intergenerational programming is another way entertainment programmers hope to encourage all-inclusive family bonding. Many residents in senior communities participated in the life-fulfilling activity of volunteering. Some still do.

“Why not make it possible for residents to continue giving back to the community with their family by their side?” asks Kraus. “It’s our job to create that possibility.”

In April, Spectrum communities will celebrate National Volunteer Week (April 15–21) for the entire month. Residents and their families will be given opportunities to give back with activities like volunteering at a local pet shelter, participating in waste reduction programs, and a variety of activities to help the homeless. (Residents at Shawnee Hills Senior Living are pioneering the cause by reusing plastic bags to create materials used to crochet mats for the homeless.)

Taking It to the Streets

“Building community is more than offering activities that allow residents to interact with one another. To create a stronger, more vibrant atmosphere communities need to expand their reach,” says Kraus. He’s talking about moving beyond the confines of the community walls to embrace the public.

In fact, Spectrum communities across Ohio hosted open-to-the-public tailgate parties, inviting Ohio State Buckeye fans to cheer for their team alongside resident-fans. The open-door events were huge successes!

Beyond Bingo

Don’t worry. There’s no need to ditch Bingo. But to ensure it’s something the kids and adult grandkids won’t want to miss, we’re ramping it up a notch. Cue the DJ, grab a local celebrity to call, and when someone yells “Bingo,” everyone celebrates — Jell-O shots anyone?