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2020 ARGENTUM AWARDS


BEST OF THE BEST


Juniper Communities Perennial Players Juniper


Fits community model


Gershon came to Juniper Communities to see about a tryout run. Lynne Katzmann, Juniper founder and CEO, immediately saw the potential benefits. The idea applied Juniper’s Con- nect4Life model to resident programming; as the nomination puts it, “Activities should not just be provided ‘for’ someone in senior living; they should be generated by their interests and curated to engage them.”


With the rights from MTI in hand, Juniper could adapt the


Singin’ In The Rain, Senior, performed pre-COVID-19, at Juniper Village at Brookline.


GIVING STARS THE CHANCE TO SHINE


Residents who love to sing, to dance, and to make others laugh abound in communities. Some have had a lifetime of doing it—some even professionally—and some are flexing newly found enjoyment. They’re ready for showtime. But the classic musicals fans would like to perform aren’t


always accessible. They can be too long or too difficult to perform or cast. And getting rights to scripts and performance can be expensive.


An idea from Freddie Gershon, co-chairman of Music The- atre International (MTI) licensing agency, was the spark that caught. MTI had created a program adapting musicals for young people. Why not do something similar for seniors?


38 SENIOR LIVING EXECUTIVE JULY/AUGUST 2020


shows for their communities: make them an hour long, adjust music for older voices, and change choreography to include movement for different abilities. The Perennial Players with Broadway Senior productions debuted Guys and Dolls, Senior in 2018 at Juniper Village at Brookline in State College, then followed with Singin’ in the Rain, Senior in 2019. The production was supported by a staff member with a the- ater background, and members of the local theater community helped with everything from lighting to acting coaching. Penn State University experts made another natural collaborator. In the first production, the average age of the actors was 87; all were living with some chronic health condition, such as congestive heart failure or rheumatoid arthritis. The play- ers had survived strokes, cancer, injuries from the Korean War; some were grieving or recovering from surgery; two had Alzheimer’s disease. All used a walker, cane, or wheelchair.


Successful engagement


The early reviews are in: Juniper provided MTI with valuable feedback to understand how Broadway Senior can be im- plemented in other senior living communities. The program “generated a positive cognitive impact on the residents par- ticipating in the program, with 7 out of 9 actors showing an increase in St. Louis University Mental Status Exam scores.” Engagement data tracking revealed a 27 percent increase in resident participant engagement time; cast members attend- ed 96 more activities in the quarter following the show; and Juniper Village activities increased by 76 percent. “Some people, you could live 50 feet away from them and you haven't really met them,” said one resident. “That's what was a really nice part of it—now I know some people.” Juniper plans to expand the Perennial Players program to other communities in its portfo- lio, and MTI is using the Juniper template to create a library of Broadway Senior shows. Juniper is also in discussions with Penn State to pursue further research.


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