Drum Circles in Retirement Communities
If you thought activities in senior living communities are limited to Bingo and Bridge, then you have not met Alan Yellowitz. Alan facilitates drum circles in a rapidly growing number of retirement, assisted and nursing centers in the Washington, D.C. Metro region.
Alan’s story is all too common; in 2009 he was downsized from his job in the information technology field. After spending considerable time and energy looking for similar work, he started to think about changing his career path and other entrepreneurial ideas and business opportunities.
One of the paths Alan followed was an idea of creating a concierge service designed to specifically assist seniors and family caregivers. Steve Gurney, publisher of Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook reviewed Alan’s business plan and asked him one simple question, “What do you REALLY like to do?” Alan responded with passion that he has played the drums for over 30 years, which sparked the idea to organize drum circles in senior living communities.
In less than a month Alan secured his first “gig” at a senior living community and launched his company, The Beat Goes On.
One of the first communities to take a chance on Alan’s innovative concept was Sunrise at Bluemont Park. Activity Director Danielle Nelson says, “It was a huge hit with all of our residents, from independent living to those with memory impairment.”
The staff is equally enthusiastic about the unique activity. When the drum circle is in full swing it is common to see several staff members joining in, dancing in the hallways or sharing a drum with the residents. “Seeing the success of the drum circles inspires you to think outside the box when planning activities,” says Danielle Nelson.
Alan is signing up new communities every week and has been enthusiastically asked to return by nearly every community at which he has conducted a drum circle. Although his new venture has not replaced his previous income, he says, “It’s a dream come true to be sharing my passion for drumming and music with others in such a positive manner.”