With the increasing amount of retirement villages, day care centers and aged care facilities showing up all across Australia to cater for the retirement of baby boomers, there's an ever growing demand for professional seniors entertainment.
But the question that always sits high at the top of the mind of retirement village, entertainment committee's, activities officers and seniors entertainment clubs is "how do we find new and professional seniors entertainers?".
In this article, we'll take a look at some of the most critical elements of finding and hiring a top notch seniors entertainment specialist in Australia.
1. Are they affordable?
Now, I hear so many people ask this question and so I always ask them "What does affordable mean to you?" and it's such an intangible question the answers range from free to thousands of dollars.
Most seniors entertainers who are full time professionals (which are the ones you want, because they are actually good at what they do and making a living from it) range from $250 for 1 hour solo, through to $1,500 for a 3 hour duo performance.
Keeping in mind that the above rates would be for local professionals and for the professional seniors entertainers who travel, an accomodation and plane fee would be on top.
The fee's indicated here are for leaders in their industry, who are guarnateed to give a tremendous show, sell lots of CD's becuase of their amazing talent and are VERY HARD to get bookings due to immense demand.
There are many top amateur performers who are still have amazing voices, great song repetoires but cost less as it's more of a "part-time" thing for them and they balance a day job to go with their passion of performing.
For the amateurs you could be looking in the vicinity of $300 for a 3 hour solo show, and upwards of $500 for a duo show locally. And these entertainers are more of an "unknown" as far as how well liked they'll be.
2. Do They Have Credentials?
The kind of thing you need to look for when discovering about seniors entertainment professionals is "what level of success" have they had?
Do they have a website? Do they have public liability insurance? Do they have police checks (if they're playing in nursing homes especially)?
It's also a great idea to ask about their song list repetoire for the audience you are organising them for... For senior citizens entertainment, it's usually up beat easy listening, country rock and ballads, crooning and old time favorites.
Do they have a CD demo they can send to you, or better yet, a demo of their songs online or videos of them performing so you can see first hand if they're good or not.
3. Do They LOVE Entertaining Senior Citizens?
This is a BIG one!
Do they have a heart for senior citizens, do they seem friendly and keen to please your group of senior citizens so they get the BEST response, or do they seem to be only about the dollars?
4. Are They Qualified to Sing in Nursing Homes?
What background do they have for singing for aged care facilities who need entertainers?
This area in Australia especially, is renowned for "volunteer" entertainers and whilst this is ok, it's not sufficient for dementia / alzheimers patients who require good aged care entertainers who can "engage" them specifically to help them be more happy and have a sense of "who they are" still.
Whilst seniors entertainers don't need a music therapy degree, which would take years of study, it's nice to know that the seniors entertiainers who are coming to your aged care facility have some knowledge and structure for shows that engage and include your residents.
5. Do They Have Reduced Fee for Nursing Homes?
Many nursing homes and aged care entertianment budgets are somewhat stiffled and they're unable to pay for too many top level entertainers.
However, if the top singers in your area offered a seniors entertainment discount for aged care facilities and nursing homes (which many do) then it could be well worth it for you to seriously look at hiring them on a recurring basis, so to avoid any dissapointment in them getting booked out.
The common fee structure for a smaller city in Australia for seniors entertainment in nursing homes would be between $50 to $100 for an hour show. Which we all know a 1 hour show is just for the show itself, so the fee would cover packing up, setting up doing the show and then packing it all back and return travel, so it averages somewhere in the $25 to $30 / hour bracket (which is a steal for a top seniors performer).
*** Important Tip ***
Remember, you do get what you pay for if you're and activities officer and the days of the "free volunteer" are quickly being replaced by skilled professionals, so you need to really be aware of your residents well being if you get a free entertainer who can't sing or caringly engage with your residents (it can actually do more harm than good for them).
Put the shoes of your residents on your feet... You can always walk away from a bad singer or entertainer, but a lot of residents who rely solely on the nurses who wheel them in can't... Would you enjoy a bad hour of entertainment from a volunteer singer who couldn't sing in tune?
So with the above 5 points in mind, you can now hopefully engage great quality seniors entertainment in your area and be guaranteed that the next professional seniros entertainer for your retirement village is actually as good as they appear to be on the phone.
The last thing you want to do is fly a senior citizens entertainer in for your retirement village entertainment and find they're absolutely terrible after you've paid your non-refundable deposit for their show.
Good luck in finding your next seniors entertainment professional.
Adam Price the founder of Adopt-a-Singer is Australia's leading seniors entertainment professional and a top local seniors entertainer in Newcastle, NSW, Austrlia. To get your free inspirational story about Adam's miraculous journey from having 3 weeks to live with Leukaemia to top seniors entertainer visit his website and connect with him at www.adoptasinger.com.au