Hire engaging entertainers for senior care residents’ enjoyment

If word of mouth is your most important marketing tool, it comes down to the experience of care and how people talked about it that determines whether or not your occupancy rate is high, and seniors are enjoying the experience you bring them. In other words, the experience is the marketing. This is why many of the top notch senior care providers have hired chief experience officers to bring in a high level of entertainment to up the experience of your seniors.

Think of yourself as the executive director or activity director of a nursing home, CCRC, assisted living, or adult day center as the chief experience officer. The experience you create for residents is talked about to families, and then spreads into the community. So when it comes to entertainment, why skimp? Provide the best and your word of mouth return on investment will be multiplied. Here's how.


Cartoon with check mark

  • seek referrals
  • check the entertainer out online
  • make sure they have an extensive repertoire
  • pay a reduced fee to have them audition live
  • check references

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  • just hire for talent
  • use volunteers
  • grovel over money
  • be the judge
  • limit a good entertainer to just residents

Anthony Cirillo, FACHE‘s recommendation to ExpertBeacon readers: Do

Do seek referrals

Word of mouth works in your industry too. But here's the thing: don’t just talk to other activity professionals. Talk to family members in the community who have elders in a different place than your own. What kind of entertainment do they believe works? What do their elders like or dislike? Finding out what entertainment different communities enjoy can help you a great deal in attracting more clients.

Do check the entertainer out online

Does the entertainer have a website and / or a Youtube Channel? Check it out before you hire them. If they don’t have a website, you may want to see them perform before you hire them so you know that you are getting quality entertainment.

Do make sure they have an extensive repertoire

A good repertoire ranges from 1920 sing-a-longs to Sinatra, the 50s, and 60s all the way up through Train and Bruno Mars. Now all of it is not appropriate for a senior audience, but keep in mind as baby boomers start coming into your settings that they will demand diversity.

Do pay a reduced fee to have them audition live

This is definitely what is most important. Confirm they have talent, but watch more for how they interact with residents. The rapport will make or break the experience, and having your elders remember the experience is the true marketing.

Do check references

More in-depth than referrals, have a deeper conversation with fellow activity colleagues about how an entertainer is to work with, consistency over time, and any unusual demands or requests. You don't want any red flags.

Anthony Cirillo, FACHE‘s professional advice to ExpertBeacon readers: Don't

Do not just hire for talent

Don’t just hire someone because they are talented, hire them for interaction they provide. Sometime when entertainers first start, they are in it for the buck. Then they realize a huge difference they are making and notice the fulfillment of it. After that, it becomes much more than just entertainment, it becomes a calling. You can spot those types of entertainers, which is what you really want.

Do not use volunteers

It is OK to use volunteers sometimes, but use them sparingly. You get what you pay for and while many volunteers are well meaning, some are just awful when it comes to talent.

Do not grovel over money

Look, you know from consulting with hundreds of healthcare entities that you have a budget. Good entertainers will shy away if you start nickel and diming them. If seniors are looking for a place to live that offers good entertainment, it will pay off in the long run to spend a few extra bucks on talent.

Do not be the judge

You may be the initial judge for hiring, but any return engagements are absolutely up to your residents. Reach out to them and find out whether or not they liked it. Seniors can be very truthful when it comes to their opinion, and you should welcome this and take it into consideration when you hire your next entertainer.

Do not limit a good entertainer to just residents

A good entertainer can be a top-notch marketing draw for your community. For example, some really good entertainers provide keynote concerts for caregivers as well in which you receive the high caliber of a keynote, chock full of song and humor to solidify a great experience


If you approach hiring an entertainer from an experience of care mindset, you will be more mindful of hiring top notch entertainers and will be able to make the case to administration to justify the expense. Your marketing, and therefore your occupancy depends on it.

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