Are you an entertainer looking for opportunities to share your talent with other people? Maybe you’re a local musician who hid your instrument away during the pandemic and are eager to get out and play it again. You may want to think about entertaining at a senior living community in the greater Green Valley area.

Almost everyone enjoys hearing and seeing live performances, but what makes a good performer in an assisted living or senior living community?

Local entertainers say they find the experience very rewarding and the freedom to interact with their audiences is the key to success. Whether you are singing, playing an instrument or doing a magic show, encourage the audience to participate by letting someone hold a prop, clapping, or singing along. You may want to perform patriotic songs and encourage anyone who served in the military to stand or raise their hand. Entertainers who interact with the audience will often discover a joyful reception when the listeners are involved.

Audience members also enjoy when you address them during the performance. Share information about yourself and your family. Tell a couple of silly jokes. Regular entertainers in senior communities discover that residents enjoy learning a brief history about the songs you’re performing. It’s also rewarding to greet residents individually after the show.

How do you get started?

Most senior residential homes or assisted living facilities have an activities director on staff who arranges entertainment. Call or email them and let them know what type of entertainment you have to offer.

Kim Provine, activities director at Posada Life Adult Day Services, encourages entertainers to contact her about performing for participants in adult day care at 520-393-6834.

“We work with you on scheduling your performance at a time that’s convenient for you,” Provine says. “Our weekdays are full of activities but music is one of those things that almost everyone enjoys.”

On the “wish list” of entertainment at Adult Day Services is getting a magician to perform, says ADS Director Denise Turner.

Residents usually enjoy programs that last about 60 minutes. Assisted living facilities commonly schedule entertainment in the mid-afternoon, although you might also be asked to perform in the morning or evening. It’s also common to perform for holiday events, during special meals, or to provide music for private events like birthday parties or anniversary celebrations.

The activities director may offer suggestions as to the types of songs the residents enjoy. As a general rule, residents prefer to hear familiar songs and also appreciate when you ask for requests. If you’re not familiar with the songs, make a note and learn them for the next time you’re entertaining there.

If you find you enjoy entertaining older adults, check with senior living communities and assisted living homes in the area. Many musicians are on a routine schedule to perform at several facilities each month.

If you’re able to volunteer your services on a long-term basis, that’s a wonderful offer. However, many senior living communities have money in their budgets devoted to entertainment, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for compensation.

A list of senior living communities and assisted living homes can be found in the Green Valley Health Directory 2021 at: issuu.com/WickCommunications/docs/gvn_health-directory_2021/. You can also find listings in the Green Valley Council’s Medical Directory on their website at:gvcouncil.org/gvc-medical-directory/.