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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Shows for the Elders (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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nicetodd
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I am a long studied (and more recently dusting off the practice) student of the magical arts. As a way of easing into performance, I was thinking that I would do shows at some of the Active Retirement or Nursing homes in my area (for free as a start, maybe always). My question is - what advice do you have for performance for these types of audiences? I was specifically wondering if there were certain kinds of effects that had "technical issues" (e.g. cards can't be seen at certain distance by a significant portion of the audience).

Any advice on building varied effects suitable for this kind of audience (a little production, a bit of pasteboarding, and a side of mentalism) here would be greatly appreciated.
charliecheckers
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Active retirement and nursing home entities need to be approached differently. In my experience, you can perform a family show for active retirement. Don’t insult them with an unpolished show. They are excited to see a live performance, but they have seen a great deal in their lifetime and know when someone is underestimating their sensibilities. Nursing homes I have performed at appreciate any opportunity to gather the healthier residents for entertainment. They have shorter attention spans and are more sensitive to loud music or speaking. Vision is also often compromised. A shorter performance is usually desired.

You can start by simply offering to entertain a few residents at a nursing home in a dinning room after lunch or dinner, if you coordinate it with the staff.

How do you see this as a topic for Tricky Business?
Mindpro
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I agree, make sure you have a show. There's nothing worse than them feeling like they are getting amateurs or bottom of the barrel performers. They are elderly, not ignorant. Create a show don't just string some tricks together. Avoid those "business" sources that will lead to you believe senior facilities are a great place for beginners with no experience. When an AD books you their reputation and position is in the equation so unless you offer full disclosure upfront, if they are paying you they are expecting a professional.

Remember sight and hearing can be concerns again depending on the type of level of property you are working. 55 & older facilities are quite active and great audiences. Assisted care, nursing, and convalescent living will have more limitations for the performer. You must go to them and understand their limitations. Understand the market before thinking you are ready to perform. Understand the market, your audience, and what they want/expect.

If you are looking for effects and performance advice and assistance, there are better forums for this. If you are inquiring about the business aspects of performing for seniors, getting bookings, pricing, and operations many here can be willing to assist.
Magic_son
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We have performed the majority of our shows for these types of facilities for the last 8 years. I can attest that these types of shows need just as high type of professionalism than any other venue. Booking, Pricing, and most of the time the actual area of performance are also extremely different as well. Reaction to the shows can be difficult to gage as well depending on the ability of your audience, not the enjoyment of your audience. I see most of these performers a lot like the anti-bullying type of performers, where it maybe more of a calling than business. Many times depending on the area and type of facility you must adapt your pricing to their monthly/yearly activity budget.
You are not going to get rich doing these shows, however the content should be the same as for the richest clientele.
Keith Raygor
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Quote:
On Mar 13, 2019, charliecheckers wrote:
How do you see this as a topic for Tricky Business?


Nice. With one post to their credit, a more welcoming response could have included a suggestion guiding them towards a more appropriate forum.
charliecheckers
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Quote:
On Mar 14, 2019, Keith Raygor wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 13, 2019, charliecheckers wrote:
How do you see this as a topic for Tricky Business?


Nice. With one post to their credit, a more welcoming response could have included a suggestion guiding them towards a more appropriate forum.


Keith, my question was not rhetorical, but genuine - in that I was allowing the OP to offer insights on how they see this connected. Just because I don’t see a real connection does not mean one does not exist. If it was misplaced, the OP could explain that as well, with no issue. I asked the question after offering my personal experience and specific things one should take into account. You, on the other hand choose to ignore that component of my post and only offer advice off topic that would have been better shared with me in a PM if your intent was to offer genuine assistance.
TomBoleware
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Tricky Business is for :“Discussions on working cruise ships, & doing trade shows. Topics may also include routine ideas for motivational magic & other specialized programs. This is also the area to talk about the business side of magic (e.g, contracts, promotions, taxes, etc)”

So maybe he read the part: “Topics may also include routine ideas for motivational magic & other specialized programs.” And working with the Elders does require a specialized program. So no harm done by posting here.

Nicetodd, you right that card trucks may not be a good idea. Also I wouldn’t recommend anything that requires memorizing numbers or anything like that. Sometimes us old people forget what day it is. Smile
Just Keep it Simple and you will do well. Talk to the Activity Director beforehand and they can let you know how active the group will be and they may be able to point out the perfect helper.

Tom
Mindpro
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I agree card trucks are never a good idea. Someone could get run over. And they're hard to shuffle.
TomBoleware
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Sorry bout that, Card TRICKS.

Tom
nicetodd
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Quote:
On Mar 13, 2019, charliecheckers wrote:
Active retirement and nursing home entities need to be approached differently. In my experience, you can perform a family show for active retirement. Don’t insult them with an unpolished show. They are excited to see a live performance, but they have seen a great deal in their lifetime and know when someone is underestimating their sensibilities. Nursing homes I have performed at appreciate any opportunity to gather the healthier residents for entertainment. They have shorter attention spans and are more sensitive to loud music or speaking. Vision is also often compromised. A shorter performance is usually desired.

You can start by simply offering to entertain a few residents at a nursing home in a dinning room after lunch or dinner, if you coordinate it with the staff.

How do you see this as a topic for Tricky Business?


Thank you,l the comments on length/loud sounds are especially helpful. I will be honest... between the adverts and the font colors this website is hard to read (about a 9.5/10 on unreadability). I did search for about 15 minutes before I settled here, but can appreciate this section is for more practical business matters.

Would you suggest to lay off the cards completely and focus on larger to see illusions exclusively, or are there certain card effects (perhaps some of the more grand card to impossible location effects as an example) that play well?
Dannydoyle
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Visual tricks work best. The type of thing where "this was red now it is blue" work well. Don't do LONG story tricks in general.

It will depend upon the audience but things that require them to see and remember things might not be great.

Also consider that hearing itself may be an issue in some cases. So speak clearly and not quickly.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
charliecheckers
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Quote:
On Mar 14, 2019, nicetodd wrote:
between the adverts and the font colors this website is hard to read (about a 9.5/10 on unreadability). I did search for about 15 minutes before I settled here, but can appreciate this section is for more practical business matters.

The site may take a bit getting used to, but I believe it offers a lot of advantages over some of the newer social media platforms for purposes of discussions. I believe you will find good advice from those who frequent Tricky Business, so you came to the right place.

As Mindpro shared, there are many differing levels and types of adult living facilities, and it may take a bit of exploring to see what plays best. I have used cards for assisted living centers, but not complicated or involved tricks. Invisible card, or such would play well. I would avoid card tricks all together in nursing homes, but that is only my limited experience. Don’t expect a great deal of reaction for the magic, but you will get those who really appreciate you being there ( I’m speaking of nursing homes).

Let us know what you decide to do, and how it works out.
Senor Fabuloso
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You don't have to work for free at nursing homes and retirement facilities and I wouldn't, as they have generous entertainment budgets. If you looking to work for nothing, hospitals will often welcome performers in some of there departments. Usually areas where there is down time, after a treatment but before going home.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

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Dannydoyle
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Not many retirement homes in the United States have generous entertainment budgets. Nursing homes even less so. That may be true in Europe but in the United States it is just not factual in the least.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Wravyn
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On Mar 15, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
Not many retirement homes in the United States have generous entertainment budgets...

Then again, wouldn’t that depend on a persons own definition of generous?
Donald Dunphy
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Here are a couple of previous / older threads on this topic. There are many.

https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......forum=17

https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......c=235335

https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......c=167994

https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......forum=17

- Donald

P.S. Jim Austin has a Facebook Group named "Creating WOW Experiences for Seniors" that is all about doing magic shows for seniors. (If you're on Facebook, you might want to seek out that group and read through all of the posts.) He also sells a DVD set on the topic, that is priced very reasonably. Let me know if you need a link to his online store.

Here's a review of one of his DVD sets: http://www.mylovelyassistant.com/reviews/view/5165
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
nicetodd
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On Mar 16, 2019, Donald Dunphy wrote:
Here are a couple of previous / older threads on this topic. There are many.

https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......forum=17

https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......c=235335

https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......c=167994

https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......forum=17

- Donald

P.S. Jim Austin has a Facebook Group named "Creating WOW Experiences for Seniors" that is all about doing magic shows for seniors. (If you're on Facebook, you might want to seek out that group and read through all of the posts.) He also sells a DVD set on the topic, that is priced very reasonably. Let me know if you need a link to his online store.

Here's a review of one of his DVD sets: http://www.mylovelyassistant.com/reviews/view/5165


Many thanks for digging these up.
55Hudson
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Most retirement homes have a budget for entertainment; the budget depends on how upscale the facility is.

I think of retirement communities in two categories - active 55 plus and asssited living homes

For the 55 + home, I do my regular show - and it better be good. This is the age where they are going on cruises and enjoying the golden years. Many will have seen good magic shows before. Not a venue to practice an unrefined show.

For asssited living, I basically do a children’s show, minus the Coloring Book. Visible props, clear magic, lots of color - think color changing hank, egg bag - a white hank turns red and back again, an egg disappears and then reappears - simple concepts that can be enjoyed by those will all their facilities and those with diminished facilities. I also bring sponge balls for seriously vision and mentally impaired. I will often ask the staff for special residents that would enjoy that extra touch You will have to discuss volunteers with the staff - worry about mobility and falls. Only use volunteers that are preapproved by the staff.

My mother has dementia and I have a soft spot for this particular group. The two best things I’ve seen work with them is color changing hank and sponge balls.

Good luck!

Hudson
Senor Fabuloso
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Quote:
On Mar 17, 2019, 55Hudson wrote:
Most retirement homes have a budget for entertainment; the budget depends on how upscale the facility is.
Hudson


Nice to see someone who KNOWS, post in the thread Smile
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
Keith Raygor
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55Hudson's take is dead-on. In my area, there's more than the average number of assisted living and 55+ communities, because of the large number of snowbirds here. Their entertainment budgets are commensurate with how upscale they are. There's plenty of places with budgets that would fit a beginner to intermediate performer, someone wanting to break into that market. In these communities, its typical to find yourself performing in a 'day room' or communal room that has plenty of space for wheel chairs and tables. These tend to be the assisted living facilities.

And there's plenty of venues for the polished pro that charges more. These communities typically have theater or performance spaces built in.

55Hudson's distinction between the two different types of shows for each market is also close to my experience.
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