Music is a busy place for me to be these days. Admittedly, it’s a long way from the old days of riding a tour bus or playing in some hotel lounge band helping Mom and Dad celebrate an anniversary or just the fact that it’s Friday night! No, it’s taken on a different flavor and meaning for many of us and, in many situations, it has changed it’s category from “entertainment” to “service.” The “service” category relates to the Music Practitioner work I get to do in hospital settings, while “entertainment” is mainly playing music and entertaining “retirees” in Retirement Communities.
Entertainment is the category we’re talking about this week.
There is no doubt about it, maybe by advances in health care or the fact that many of us have quit killing ourselves with tobacco products, the population of our nation is growing older. As we grow older many have chosen to move into retirement communities rather than do all the work it takes to keep up a house and a yard and everything else that goes along with it!
In “retirement communities” one of the fastest growing categories today is memory care and that’s the one we’re going to focus on today. Memory Care is a large category in its own right, and runs all the way from forms of mild dementia to full blown Alzheimer‘s disease. This is the business that Highline Place is in and they do it very well!
If you’re familiar with Denver, one of the main arterial streets running north and south is called Broadway (how’s that for an original name) and it runs all the way from north Denver, south through Englewood, all the way to Littleton, and I have no idea where it goes after that! Actually I’m just kidding but Broadway does run a long way across the city and, if you go far enough south, you’ll come to 6767 South Broadway. If you look over on your right you’ll see a beautiful, quiet, restful setting with a large pond and manicured lawns and you’ll be looking at Highline Place.
Highline Place is an Anthem retirement property whose focus is memory care but from my casual (and very amateur) observation, their attitude also seems to be on openness and a casual interaction between the residents. Their residential capacity is in the mid seventies and the first word I would use to describe the situation when I went to entertain recently, was “friendly.” Friendliness seemed to me to be springing from everywhere as well as a feeling of openness and community rather than any kind of solitude or isolation. Obviously, privacy is a very important consideration as well, and they seem to have been very cognizant of that need in the building design. I couldn’t help but be impressed with the thoughtfulness and care that must have gone into this whole thing during the design process and that impression stayed with me during my visit.
One of the most glaring facts that faces you when you’re setting up to entertain is that women outnumber the men by a high percentage. The next thing that crosses your mind is that, after a couple of minutes, how accepting and friendly they become. It’s kind of like, “OK, we’ve been there, done that, seen it all, done it all and you’re no big deal so let’s just relax, enjoy ourselves, and have a good time!” That’s exactly what we did! We sang and teased and laughed and joked and generally let an hour of good times slip through our fingers like it was no time at all!
One of the early rules of the road that you learn as an entertainer in any capacity is that, when the audience is with you it’s heaven, and when they’re not, it can be hell! This week at Highline Place for me, was another small slice of heaven and I hope we get to do it again sometime soon!
Please send your comments and critiques. I’ll be sure to read them all and use them if I can.
Have a great week everybody!