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Seniors are big on bingo

July 6, 2015
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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Activity director’s have challenging jobs. How can you make a diversified group of people happy at the same time? Recent years have shown a wide variety of engaging pastimes to add sparkle to residents’ days. From sewing to crafts to woodshop projects to group outings, activity directors are presenting offerings that encourage residents to explore and develop their creative instincts.

But why is it that activity directors say the word “bingo” with a bad taste in their mouths?  Accept the fact that people like bingo. When these older adults lived on their own, many of them attended bingo sessions a couple times a week at churches, schools or senior centers. These charitable games offered them socialization, refreshment and—if the bingo balls fell in their favor—cash prizes!

In the news this past week, a Minnesota state law that limited nursing homes and senior centers to playing bingo two days a week was changed.  Beginning today, seniors can play as often as they want. If awarding cash to the winners, the prize for a single game cannot exceed $10 and the total amount of cash awarded at a single bingo night cannot exceed $200. Now, guests can join in the fun and play or sit and assist their loved one.

For most long-term care facilities, this isn’t a problem because residents usually play for small prizes such as candy bar, apple or other small gifts. While for the bingo caller, it might be boring to call the games, watch the expressions of the players, especially the person who yells, “Bingo!”

So now that these older adults are living in your community, let their attendance be the barometer by which you judge the game.  Times are changing as I’m sure the activity preferences of future seniors will. Maybe bingo will eventually fade away and, but for now: Bingo!


Sandra Hoban

Managing Editor

Sandra Hoban


Sandra Hoban has been on Long-Term Living’s editorial staff for 17 years. She is one of...