MySeniorCenter Fun Facts

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

In a typical Fun Facts newsletter, we highlight a specific trend or statistic from across the MySeniorCenter Network. For the July issue we normally feature fun trip programs and ideas to get ready for summer vacation. Not this year though - there's nothing normal about it. When the shutdown started, we asked ourselves here at MySeniorCenter what our role should be during the crisis. We decided we would collect information and stories from all of you, create tools to help, and then share those with the Network. The last few months we've recapped many of those ideas in this space with Keep Socialization Alive, Let's Be Alone Together, and Eye on Reopening. The innovation and creativity you've shown is amazing; we’ve been so impressed watching how you’ve responded to this crisis.

Because we love data, we collected information on some specific questions we thought would be important as Centers craft plans for reopening. In this issue, we're highlighting the results of that collection that took place in the form of telephone interviews during the month of June. We'll also provide an update on some new tools to help you with virtual programs, tracking outdoor activities and contact tracing. Thank you very much to those who took the time to speak with Ann Marie to share your ideas and stories. What's captured here is a summary of what you told her - with a few of your anecdotes sprinkled in. Even though reopening may be weeks or months in the future, we can all benefit from the wisdom of this crowd!

Welcome to...Fun Facts - the
Optimism in the Face of Uncertainty


Let It Start With Me

We all have a responsibility to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Two simple things we can do are use hand sanitizer and wear a mask, especially when social distancing isn't possible. One of the questions we asked in the survey was about potential PPE policies when the Center eventually reopens. Almost universally, hand sanitizer was mentioned as a recommended first step when entering the building. This is especially true if you have a touchscreen swipe station. Here's an image that Lindsey created for last month's newsletter. Feel free to turn that into a poster! Mask wearing was the other key item we asked about and nearly 80% will be either requiring or recommending a face covering for participants.

  • Stephanie in Anchorage, AK said they purchased a UV box for cleaning their playing cards
  • Diane in Monona, WI is looking into purchasing see-through masks to help with lip reading
  • Kristin in SWIRCA, IN will be using a fogger for santitizing rooms after each event
  • 50% will require daily staff temperature checks; 33% will require for participants
  • 75% might or will be required to have contact tracing (see sidebar for more on contact tracing)

Life Is A Highway

We wondered if Centers were going to make changes to their overall traffic flow into and around the building to decrease lobby congestion and face-to-face interactions. 50% of all Centers will be having directional arrows to control the general flow within the building. About one third of Centers will be using separate doors for entering and exiting and 25% will have general social distancing and protocol signs. A good number don't know yet and only a few said they don't plan to make any changes.

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  • Because they don't want their members looking down while navigating the halls, Anne at the Active Adult Centre of Mississauga will be having visual cues hanging from the ceiling to define space and directions.
  • Deb at Orchard Park, NY will be using staff to direct people rather than floor decals/markers
  • Plexiglass sneeze guards will be used in Kearney, NE according to Deb, to protect the front desk staff

I Will Survive

As if there was no yesterday, Zoom and its cousins, Facebook Live and YouTube Livestream, have taken over our virtual lives. Roughly 85% of all Centers surveyed are offering some type of livestream programming. 100% of those are planning to continue it in some capacity after they open. Even if we get back to a full slate of in-house activities, there will be those participants who either don't want to or can't get back into the Center for a while. Streaming is a great way to keep those people connected socially to you and their peers.

  • The Lou Walker Center in GA has 60 classes online for their members to join. Nice work Bettye and team!
  • Amy says that Hood River Valley, OR is hosting virtual plays
  • Online cooking classes are popular; we heard about a few focused on instapot and air fryer appliances
  • Dianne in Newington, CT has been running virtual versions of her Aging Mastery programs with great success

Tools to help:

  • We're adding virtual room setups to the MySeniorCenter event template screen where you can include the access details like phone number, zoom link and meeting id. If people register for those on MyActiveCenter, they will receive an alert AND you can configure a text message that will send them the link 5 minutes beforehand. Keep an eye out for a tutorial on the MySeniorCenter login page
  • When someone registers for a virtual program and then logs in through the text message or MyActiveCenter link, their attendance will automatically be tracked
  • Participants will soon be able to leverage their wallet balance on MyActiveCenter
  • If you already have an integration with our credit card processor, participants will be able to send you activity-specific donations through MyActiveCenter
  • MySeniorCenter Conference Calling is coming soon - a conference call service that you can use for your participants who do not have computers or internet at home. And it works with any phone. That service will have a flat fee associated with it to cover our costs but you'll have unlimited use. If you'd like more information on that let us know.

Into the Great Wide Open

Outdoor and limited participation indoor activities will have to satisfy our in-person needs for now. Here are a few we've heard about:

  • Sara from Pelham, NH rented a tent for outdoor classes - cornhole, bone builders and fitness; she's also planning to stream so people can follow along at home
  • Jean said Billerica, MA is hosting Tai Chi on the lawn and 30-minute slots in their fitness Center
  • Shirley in Kingsport, TN had a great idea for limiting people at the Center - even number birth years on certain days and odd years on other days; easy to implement and follow
  • Enfield, CT is doing outdoor puzzle hunts according to Sheila
  • As we mentioned last month, there are a lot of honk and wave events and those are a great. Bernadette from the Betty Ehart Center in NM had a fun spin on that for a birthday event recently - cupcakes and ukuleles!
  • Cindy at Fox Valley Older Adults in IL is doing beanbag baseball outside
  • Jana from Beaver Dam, WI says they are planning to bring back horseshoes
  • In honor of Hamburger Day, Chris in Stamford, CT offered a drive-thru grab-and-go burger lunch
  • Cindi in Westlake, OH is having a drive-in concert in their parking lot

Tools to help: using handheld scanners is an easy way to track participation at your outdoor activities. See the sidebar section Meal Pick-ups and Outdoor Activites for an overview. If you'd like more information about how those work, just send us a note.

Thanks for all that you do!

We've said it before and we'll say it again: You are the best in the world at what you do and your seniors are lucky that you've chosen to do what you do.

We're planning to continue collecting information about your reopening plans and will publish a full report later this summer. Stay safe and healthy!