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Profile of hypnoman1
One of my favorite lessons that I learned while performing for seniors was that they seem a bit more reluctant to volunteer to come on stage, or up front with you. As a result, on my first time with seniors I did not get a chance to use some of my patter and interact with the audience. Thus my scheduled 45 minute performance lasted only about 35 minutes. The fun thing that I remember is that there was this little ole blue haired lady in a wheelchair in the back of the room. I asked her if she liked the show. She said, "yes, and I am so glad you finished before 6:30 because I can still go back to my room and watch Wheel of Fortune." And with that she spun her wheelchair around and scooted down the hall. I laugh to myself every time I think of that occasion.

I just finished working at a senior living and had a similar experience. My suggestions are to gain there confidence immediately. They will test you but once you get over the awkwardness you will have friends for life! It can also be one of the most fun events you will ever have! I know it was for me!
For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice.
Joseph Dunninger
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Profile of LightningRod
In doing magic at an old folks' home, I have a couple tips:
1) figure out the character of the audience... are they REALLY old and incapacitated/infirm, or are they in an "assisted living" sort of place where they are in more of a dormitory environment (their own apartments but share common eating area and living space). Once you know the character of your crowd, you can choose illusions to fit the bill.
2) once I did a show for a mixed gender crowd, but found out early that 2/3 of them were women. So I changed up my agenda to include more things the ladies could relate to (traditionally female interest areas for 1940s-1950s Moms); it was a hit. the biggest was the gag with the change bag that revealed two ropes tide in the middle.
3) get a history on the residents if you can. One nursing home I visited was predominantly veterans (by a huge margin). I switched up the show to include patriotic themed effects (mismade flag and that sort of schtick). Vets love it when you talk their language; and I don't mean trite phrases like "thank you for your service" -- go hang around a VFW Post bar and see what the old guys are talking about and maybe engage them in conversation about their experiences. You'll find commonalities you can work into your show. WACs, WAVs, and nurses are always a hit, and so is picking on the Marines (they're the only service that is used to it -- and the only ones who are tough enough to take it and still laugh, too!). Being able to use a little bit of their slang and jargon (properly) will endear them to your performance as well.
- LRod
- LRod
Magical Moments
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Profile of Magical Moments
I find that if your elderly audience is one consisting of card players, then card tricks is the way to go. They will appreciate them because they relate to playing cards.

If your audience is mainly women, I suggest silk magic because they will appreciate the colorful visuals.

You want to keep the routine simple and each effect brief for obvious reasons.

May I suggest that before you determine what you will perform, it is best to ask the coordinator questions so you know your audience ahead of time.

The key is to have a successful outing and then reap the reward of knowing that you caused a group of elderly folks to enjoy themselves.

My statements above are not revolutionary but suitable as an outline for a practical approach.
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