MySeniorCenter Fun Facts

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024


Casey Kasem's Top 40 Countdown was must-listen radio on Sundays in the 1970's and 80's. It was the best way to stay informed about national and international song trends. Every January, he kicked it up a notch and would compile the most-played songs from the previous year. That show was the insipiration for what is now the 14th annual MySeniorCenter Big List, What's Hot and What's Not edition of Fun Facts. We recap the most popular programs from the past year, but with a twist. We group the top five in each category, highlight the one program with the most percentage gain year-over-year AND show if there were any programs with negative growth.

Each section below borrows its title from one of the Top 100 hits of 1984. If you'd like the full list of songs from that year along with a soundtrack as you read, click here, push play, and crank it up.

Let's have a look.

Welcome to...Fun Facts - the Big List, What's Hot and What's Not edition

Enjoy!

I'm So Excited

Events in the Fitness and Exercise category represented roughly one third of all program participation in 2023. Yoga was the most popular, while Tai Chi nearly doubled compared to 2022. Pickleball continued its march to the top of the charts (it wasn't even in the top twenty pre-COVID). Rock Steady Boxing is proving that it is not a fad, as it was once again the tenth fastest growing program across the Network.

Mindful movement and group exercise are hot. Pumping iron is not.

When Doves Cry

As we pointed out in the Eating With Friends issue of Fun Facts, congregate programs are back with a bang after a pandemic lull. In additon to the nutritional benefits of having a good meal, there are proven social advantages to eating those meals in the company of others. Socialization matters... a lot. Nearly two million people across the Network attended a congregate meal last year. Lunch was by far the most popular meal, but a Saturday meal had the most overall growth. Only about 15% of all Centers offer this option, but for those Centers, there was an average 300% growth over 2022. Café options were still popular but had zero percent growth.

Eating comfort food with friends is in. Eating at home alone is out.

Pink Houses

Watching movies was not only the most popular program within the Art/Music/Dance/Craft category, it also had the highest growth. Streaming services really took off during the pandemic and Centers were able to take advantage of that trend and turn it into a social event by hosting weekly movies with popcorn and a discussion following the film. We assumed ukulele, which appeared on this list last year, was a one-time thing, but the number of Centers offering it in 2023 increased by 50%. Painting was replaced in the top 5 by drawing.

The silver screen and working with needle and thread are hot. As is playing small instruments.

Dancing In the Dark

The Education category continues to take a larger slice of the participation pie every year. As a result, nothing had negative growth. In 2023, Lifelong Learning programs were the most popular, but smartphone classes had the most growth (148%). Those classes have almost completely replaced the computer classes from ten years ago.

Learning at all stages of life has always been cool.

Round and Round

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Bingo was, once again, back on top as the most popular activity in the Social/Recreation category. All of the 'hot' events are very social and a little competitive (even finding the best doughnuts can be a fun contest).

Daubers and tricks are hot. Watching the tube is not.

Let's Hear It For the Boy

Hearing and podiatry clinics (not shown, but number six on the list) are the staples in Health and Wellness. Meditation and education in prediabetes and arthritis had the most growth.

Listening, internally and externally, are in. Vaccines, while always in, were not needed quite as much in 2023 (thankfully).

Summary

Once again, we were blown away by your innovative programming and compassion for your participants. You took advantange of all available spaces and tools to deliver socialization, nutrition, fitness, education and well-being. Congratulations on a successful year.

To paraphrase Casey Kasem, you kept your feet on the ground and reached for the stars.

Happy New Year!