MySeniorCenter Fun Facts

Monday, January 3rd, 2022


Happy New Year! To kick off the new year, we usually show the top 10 most popular programs within various categories. This year, we're mixing it up and showing the programs with the most growth in attendance in several categories. We'll also look at a few of the programs that have declined in popularity. That will give us a chance to look at what's hot and what's not across the 1500+ Centers that use MySeniorCenter.

As a larger society, one of the only positive things we can confidently say about 2021 was that it was marginally better than 2020. Really, we just got better at doing 2020 in 2021. The silver lining for us was watching how Centers adapted in 2021 and the amazing ways that you served your Seniors in whatever capacity you were able.

Let's have a look.

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

Enjoy!

Curbside, Casseroles and Chicken

The top four programs with the most growth in 2021 were all food-related, so let's start with the category of Nutrition to see what's hot and what's not. Curbside dining grew over 2100% compared to 2020. That deserves a huge HOT!!! Casseroles and chicken dishes were the runaway favorites for options. Within the top 20 meal choices there were seven chicken entries: jambalaya, teriyaki, fried, creole, tahitian, brown sugar and - in a combined winner - chicken and cheese enchilada casserole (recipe swapping might have to be a new feature here). Curbside breakfast was a new program we saw in 2021 and an exciting development that we'll keep an eye on. If you have that option at your Center, please drop us a line. We'd love to ask a few questions.

The increase in curbside dining came at the expense of congregate meals; as a result, there was a 92% decline in congregate dining across the Network in 2021. While many Centers were able to resume congregate dining programs over the summer, they dropped off again in late November.

Meditation, Core and Meetups

The pandemic forced many Centers to cancel or restrict their indoor Fitness programs, but the overall category of programs barely missed a beat. Zoom and the great outdoors took over. Parking-lot dancing, friends gathering for a morning walk, online meditation, yoga and tai chi were all the rage in 2021. We also saw an increase in the number of programs with the name 'Chair' in the title.

Mindfulness, strong abs and gathering outdoors is hot. Sweating in a crowded room is not.

Zen & the Art of Flower Maintenance

If indoor fitness classes had to be cut back, indoor singing practice was definitely a no-no. The same was true for sharing a piano bench or gathering around power tools. What popped up in their place was virtual cooking lessons (one of the top five most popular activities of 2021), streaming abstract art classes, online craft clubs, gardening and flower arranging.

No category of programs moved online more than Art/Dance/Music/Culture. To paraphrase Rudolph and Hermey, "let's be alone, together."

Book Clubs, Billiards and Happy Hour

Pool and billiards had the most growth in the Social/Recreation category. Not surprisingly, in-person bingo took the biggest hit. Conference call bingo and virtual games helped reduce the sting as those activities had a 239% increase. Book clubs, the vast majority of which happened online, were quite popular. Virtual happy hours were a creative and necessary way for friends to gather and share a cocktail or cup of tea.

Bingo is still a very popular activity across the Network, but total attendance was down due to gathering rules.

Summary

After another weird year, the Network definitely worked overtime to keep Seniors fed, socialized and active. Curbside, virtual, limited capacity, outdoor and by-appointment activities replaced the traditional group meal, fitness room, bingo games and choir practices.

None of us know what 2022 will bring, but Senior Centers provide a reason for optimism. You, the people who run them, will do amazing things to ensure that your Seniors are engaged.

It's people like you that make this world a better place!

Don't forget - if you'd like to nominate your logo for the Look At Me contest, please send us a note and include a copy of the logo. We'll have another vote in the February 2022 issue of Fun Facts. Each year, we cap the entries at 50 and we only have a few spots left, so this is your last chance to be included in the 2022 vote. All others that we receive after we reach 50 will automatically be in the 2023 vote and potentially highlighted in a monthly Fun Facts during the year. You can see last year's results here.