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Bill Palmer
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Profile of Bill Palmer
There is a big difference between performing for retirement homes and performing in hospice situations. In many hospice situations, you are working to a very small audience -- two or three people at most -- so the conditions sirbrad is discussing really don't apply. But the considerations do.

In some hospice situations, you will have "in home" hospice care. In these cases, outside professionals have set up a pleasant environment in the patient's home so that their final days, weeks or months will be as comfortable and pleasant as possible.

There is another type of performing situation you may find yourself in, and that is performing for people who have varying stages of Alzheimer's.

Working in these places can be frustrating, unless you simply "go with the flow."

Alzheimer's is a nasty disease. Sometimes it leaves a shell with no inhabitant.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."
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Profile of sirbrad
True they are different indeed. I mostly do small stage shows for larger, and otherwise healthy residents for the most part. I have however done a few hospice bed to bed strolling shows, and it is usually not as enjoyable, and much more unpredictable. Either way, you are there to make the residents, or patients if you will, a little more happier than they were before you arrived. Usually the audiences I receive are very alert, heathly, and quite smart. Also the ones who are able to leave their rooms easily are the ones who are selected for the show. So overall it is usually a very enjoyable experience. However no matter how skilled you are as a performer, there will always be a few people who sleep through your show! Smile
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
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Profile of MagicAndBlackjack
I'll see how it goes.
Frog Prince
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Profile of Frog Prince
What a wondaful people here!
If magic could help them, I hope I wanna join.
I never thout useing my magic this way.
Thank you everyoue!
Croak..Croak.. Smile
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Profile of Metalepsis
I have recently started performing FlapJacks by Paul Harris. I overlooked it years ago as not technically challenging mistake. The performance is for the spectator. I find it can be funny and lighthearted. You could change the patter to however you like, but people love this revealation. It isn't a stage piece, just a close-up medium/short trick. Look it up. It might suit has this wonderful 'in-their-hands-blossom'. It's light, and wonderful, which is why I am suggesting it.

I am sorry I can not add anything to your situation in terms of performance advice.

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Profile of MerlH
Bead poodles beads can be purchased at most fabric stores like Joan Ann Fabrics. They are 6mm bead strands and are available in many colors. The price averages out to 1 to 2 cents per poodle.
Merl Hamen Old dog-- New tricks
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Profile of Magicmike1949
For an older woman I would say producing a rose would be effective, bring a smile, and perhaps jog an old memory. Leave it in a bud vase for her.
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Profile of twistedace
Talk to them...conversation can be more magical than a double lift.
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Profile of MagicAndBlackjack
Great advice guys, thanks.

M, thanks for mentioning that trick, I'll check it out soon.

Merl, thanks for telling me where to get the beads.

Mike, good idea.

TwistedAce, I agree with you on that. The lady in charge of Hospice said the people really enjoy talking and sharing stories.
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Profile of dpe666
How about a Living and Dead Test? Smile
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Profile of Turk
I try to perform magic for my mother and the other ladies at her Assisted Living home but it is very challenging. They all have Alzheimer's.

I've come to understand that anything that requires them to remember anything (be it instructions or long story lines or even something we take for granted like remembering a chosen card) is really problematical.

Sometimes, just saying "Watch!" is the best approach. I have found the magic that is the easiest for them to "understand" and appreciate is something that is quick, visual and direct (like a coin vanish or a ring off rope or a vanishing silk into a TT or even a hot rod).

I usually carry the same 3-4 tricks with me when I go to visit and the residents always seem amazed and delighted.

Magic is a vanishing Art.

This must not be Kansas anymore, Toto.

Eschew obfuscation.
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Profile of ChristianR
On 2004-09-19 01:35, dpe666 wrote:
How about a Living and Dead Test? Smile

Do not underestimate the strength of elders! I repeat: Do not underestimate the strength of elders!

You really are optimistic aren't you Smile
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Profile of DanielCoyne
Hey TJ,

What a wonderfully moving topic. I recently lost my grandmother (and best friend) who was 100… and have been giving some thought to doing some magic in nursing homes. (Recognizing that this is different than a Hospice audience.)

Anyway…please do let us know how it goes, and what you learned.

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Profile of jimhlou

Don't do anything that will startle the audience. No popping balloons. And the last show I did, I caused a lady to wet herself flipping a newspaper cone "full of milk" toward her.
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Profile of ceme20
You are right about that! Anything startling can affect them many times over than someone else. I did the milk pitcher trick, but dumped the confetti on one of the attendents. They loved it! Did it early on in the show. It helped to form a bond between us right away.
The Magical stage parallels that of the Stage of Life. We can step off, re-direct, and Create new Miracles as easily, and as naturally as taking in a breath...
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Profile of JasonbytheOcean
I find that even the simplest tricks work very well. We magicians get so used to the basic material that we forget how well it works on lay audiences. I still perform the wand stuck to hand because 90% of my audience hasn't ever seen it before, and most won't figure it out. I leave it out of my professional repertoire, but for hospitals it's a cute piece to show/teach.

One quick one I would suggest is jumping rubber bands. I was working with an elderly patient once who suffered from chronic pain. I showed her the trick, then offered to teach it to her to show her grandchildren. The therapist pointed out to me afterwards that for the 1/2 hour we practiced and talked, her pain had visibly subsided; there was a very noticeable change in her expression. Magic isn't a cure, but I do believe it can help in treatment and making someone's day a little brighter. If you decide to perform the rubber bands, get the colored ones - everyone likes getting their favorite color, even for rubber bands. More importantly, confirm with hospital staff that the patient has no latex allergies and has the strength to perform the piece if you teach it to them. Some patients will practice over and over!
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Profile of Binary
I'm going to suggest the bullet catch.

I see no flaws in this suggestion.
Mike Gorman
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Doing some closeup at nursing homes is easy and rewarding (emotionally, not financially). Many times there are rehab areas where the folks are for getting over an accident, etc.

I've found the trouble with hospitals is the privacy issue. They don't want you walking around unsupervised lately. If you can get acquained with the nurses, sometimes they will let you entertain, but only if you don't get any patients too excited or make noise. Any areas that have patients on chemotherapy are good... they are pretty alert, have a long session, and appreciate some low key entertainment. Nurses will give you some leeway in those areas.
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Profile of Cody21
What a timely thread. I recently started performing atAssisted Care centers around my area. I've done 3 so far in the last month. I was a bit nervous about how I would come off and specifically what Magic to perform. It was an incredible experience and I plan to continue practicing my craft at these centers. The joy and laughter -- even with the STAFF -- is very fullfilling. I have a question for you all: Do you have any specific Magic Tricks that you can recommend that goes over well in these setting? I find that Cards can sometime be an issue - many have a had time seeing far away ... so in a setting of 10-15 people, these don't often work too well. Rope tricks (disappearing knot, professor's nightmare)seem to go over well. Any suggestions as to tricks would be appreciated.
Rodney Palmer
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Profile of Rodney Palmer
Hi everyone, may I suggest to you to go in and just be personable with these people. If you have the money I would suggest that you make Napkin Roses from Michael Mode. If you cannot afford these try and find a sponsor to buy these for you. I will write letters to companys and let them know specifically what I am doing and either have them order me some or make a small contribution. This really works well for me and I have thousands of Napkin Roses. If a company chooses to send me money all my letters state that a small portion will be used to cover mailings and office supplies. I have received donations as small as
$ 10.00 to one company that sent a check for $ 1,000.00 and make sure you give a detailed accounting to anyone that asks that will keep you honest.

Rodney Palmer
"Creating Memories That Last A Lifetime"

In order to keep "MAGIC ALIVE" Please become a Mentor to a Young Person.
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