Spice It Up For Seniors

  • Select a conveniently located theatre or venue. Hold all auditions, rehearsals, and performances at the same location.
  • Keep prices affordable. Set ticket prices at $5 to accommodate seniors on fixed incomes. Use the money to support additional senior programming.
  • Hire a director and assistant director to assist in auditions and the selection of cast members.
  • Host a variety show, not a talent show. This will keep the event a place to showcase the performers’ interests, rather than hold a competition.

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Host Special Events

Every spring for the last 23 years, the center has hosted the Senior Expo, which provides a one-stop shop for information on adult assisted-living facilities, senior discounts at area businesses, and free health screenings. The event is sponsored by the Mayor’s Committee for the Aging and the city of Chandler   Recreation Division. The senior-center staff and the mayor’s committee members plan, organize, and coordinate the expo events.

Initially, attendance was a challenge, but once paid advertising began, attendance has grown each year to almost 1,200 guests. In fact, the event is so popular that the expo has almost outgrown the 6,000-square-foot space. The senior center is not large enough to house the event, so the event is partnered with the community center next door, placing the expo in a convenient location for regular guests of the senior center.

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Host A Senior Expo

Advertising is the biggest expense for an expo.

  • Reach out to publications early to negotiate pricing and a potential partnership.
  • Create banners, fliers, postcards, or whatever the budget allows.
  • Make promotional information available at all recreation facilities, as each facility serves a different sector of the population.
  • Reach out to large health-care providers in the area to discuss sponsorship. They will have an opportunity to present their ideas to a target audience while helping support a great community organization.

To encourage greater vendor participation:

Keep vendor-related expenses to a minimum. Expo vendors must provide a senior-related product, service, or leisure opportunity in order to participate. To encourage attendance from the community, require all vendors to bring a raffle gift.

Enlist the help of as many volunteers as possible. Hosting an event like this is not a one-person job, for it requires a team. Call upon volunteers to help with set-up the day before, and vendor parking and distribution of raffle tickets to attendees on the day of the event.

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Remember that recreation is an essential element of life. When programming for residents, whatever their age, know the audience and the members’ needs and interests. Consider partnering with other communities and facilities in the area to maximize exposure, and don’t be afraid to play host to special events once needs and interests have been established.

Brooke Peterson is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the City of Chandler, Arizona. Reach her at Brooke.Peterson@chandleraz.gov.

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  5. A Place For Seniors To Stretch Out

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