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Friday, July 15, 2016

Bingo years

Sepia Saturday's photo this week has a marquee stating "Bingo." (Check other posts on this meme HERE)

I immediately remembered my last career as an Activity Director and the weekly (sometimes more) Bingo games which I called for various senior citizens.

For several years I worked in an Assisted Living home in Tampa FL, and provided newsletters, calendars, parties and daily activities to give added quality to the lives of 70 or so seniors. These people needed a bit of help with their care, and could do a lot of things on their own.

I kept a scrapbook of some of our outings (we had use of a van holding 10 or so people) and also of some of the visiting talents who came to entertain them.

A trip to the pier in Clearwater included lunch at one of the favorite restaurants.

The valentine's party included a random "king" and "queen" of hearts being crowned.  A singing group named the Ladies in Blue entertained the residents in the lobby/living room area.  Did I mention my monthly budget was $50?  I found lots of talent which donated their time to the seniors.

High school students volunteered to help with giving nail polish to the ladies, and a lot of the seniors showed up for weekly Bingo. I had a grab bag of prizes including nail polish and candy bars for the winners at this facility.  We had afternoon tea parties and birthday parties, and the lower photo shows a visit from a Brownie troop.  Children were very popular visitors!

For our Mother's Day tea I designed invitations and drew a picture of the facility.  Bill O'Hara was a good friend who loved to woo the ladies with his voice.  Another friend was Rosemary Stout, who played a beautiful harp for our Chirstmas party one year.  Did I mention I did all the seasonal decorations also?

Justin Wolfe was the grandson of a resident, and he liked to lip-synch for Neil Diamond songs.  The ladies loved him!  I heard he stopped doing this after he went to college, but it was great to have him be a guest while he was a volunteer from high school.

I worked in two Assisted Living facilities (both privately owned, which means a business hoping to make a profit). Before that I was a counselor in several nursing homes in another city for public facilities which meant even less funding was available for activities.

My last Activities Director position was for a private/public residence for Independent Seniors.  I loved that it had a microphone for calling Bingo.  These were serious players, who bought their cards, and then all the money was returned to the winners of the games.

I continued to use my connections all over town with public persons who wanted to volunteer to make seniors happier.  Fortunately independent seniors were able to purchase tickets for catered dinners which also covered the cost of professional entertainers. But that's another scrapbook!

Today's Quote:

There are many fine things which you mean to do some day, under what you think will be more favorable circumstances. But the only time that is yours is the present. Grenville Kleiser


  1. Some people certainly do get seriously competitive about their weekly bingo games and you'd need to be a good caller, they wouldn't put up with anything less!

  2. Barbara, my parents both ended their lives in residential care and I know what a valuable role entertainment can play. Here in the Scottish Borders there is an organisation called Harmony which organises visits by amateur musicals to hospitals and care homes. Thank you for an such an original take on this week's theme, and highlighting your work.

  3. A wonderful spin on the theme! A creative activity director can really make the difference in making a community that has quality companionship.

  4. Your post has brought back memories of when I saw the Del Rubio Triplets in Glendale, California. I was visiting a typesetter to pickup a job and out front was a car being unloaded by three elderly blonds in hot pants. They were pulling musical instruments out of the back of their station wagon. I asked the typesetter what was going on and she told me who they were and that on a regular basis they came to a nearby rest home to perform. A year or so later I saw them on tv. They were a hoot and apparently had big hearts. Those are the type of people who remember to make others lives a little bit better.


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