Science for Seniors Book Review

Science for Seniors – Book Review by Kimberly A. Cassia, BS, TRD, ACC, AC-BC, CDP

A book written by Gloria Hoffner, BA, ADC, AC-BC and winner of 2010 NCCAP Best Practice Award and published by Idyll Arbor.  This book provides “hands-on learning activities” based on the premise that “we are never too old to learn.”  Born out of an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sputnik began the endeavors of a monthly science program at the Sterling Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Media, PA.  Those successful monthly programs led to the foundation for her book.

I was impressed by the wonderful ideas for programs.  There are 9 chapters each with various programs one can select.  The chapters are: animals, ecology, energy, space, oceans, plants, earth science, every day chemistry and physics all around us.

Chapter 1 outlines all you need to get started, along with the 5 parts of the program: introduction, various degrees of trivia, suggested videos, experiment supplies and instructions, discussion points as well as further reading suggestions and references.  Each program follows the 5 parts allowing the TRD success in implementing the program.

Chapter 11 has experiments relating to tall tales and science facts and Chapter 12 has handy websites for quick reference.

Gloria lays everything out for the TRD to have a successful program from supplies to equipment, room set up, ways to empower your residents and more.  You don’t need to be a science whiz but you do need to be prepared and she gives you all the tools to do that.

There are various studies and beliefs that using our brains helps delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.  This book is a great resource to not only stimulate the brain but have some fun as well.  Learning doesn’t and shouldn’t stop because we get old.  The belief that we are too old to learn has to be tossed out the window.  This book is a wonderful tool to help get us outside the box and try new programs that can benefit and engage our residents in many ways.

Idyll Arbor’s web site is  The book “Science for Seniors” is listed at $28.00 plus shipping and handling

Science for Seniors author wins award

Gloria Hoffner, owner and author of Science for Seniors, is the winner of the 2012 Sterling Healthcare Humanitarian Award.
Gloria is a national certified activity consultant who will be presenting Science for Seniors workshops for activity directors, activity staff members and certified therapeutic reecreation directors in 2013. To bring a workshop to your community contact Gloria at

Science for Seniors at NAAP 2013

Science for Seniors, a hands-on activity for engaging residents of retirement communities, long term care and adult day centers, has been selected as a presentation for the 2013 National Association of Activity Professionals Convention in Las Vegas in 2013.
Gloria Hoffner, owner and author of the book Science for Seniors will also be presenting a second workshop at NAAP, Transit to Adventure, the subject of her new book offering practical ideas on how to bring the fun and culture of the world to your facility.

Spooky Fun Ideas for Halloween

This is the month of ghosts, goblins, bats and things that go bump in the night. Spice up your costume party and neighborhood children’s Halloween parade at your facility with some fun trivia and science facts about the holiday!
Spiders –
1) Why is it bad luck to step on a spider on Halloween? Answer – during the Middle Ages in Europe the people believed a spider was the home to the spirit of a departed loved one on just that special night.
2) Science fun – Spiders are among the most interesting of insects. Written about in literature as friends and foes, the spider’s ability to weave a web captures our imagination. Here are the facts: on average a spider can spin a web in 30 to 60 minutes and the tensile strength, the longitudinal stress a substance can stand without tearing apart, is five times stronger than its equivalent weight in steel.
3) Experiment – Why doesn’t a spider stick to her/his own web? Supplies: masking or duct tape, cooking oil and a volunteer finger. Process: have the resident place a finger on the sticky side of the tape. This represents how the web feels to the fly or other insect stuck in the web. Now have the resident dip a finger into the oil and then place the oily finger on the tape. It will not stick. The reason – spiders emit an oil on the pads of their feet to keep from sticking to their own webs.

Science for Seniors in Maryland

Gloria presented Science for Seniors, a one hour, hands-on work session, for the Maryland Activity Coordinators Society on September 21 at the Grand Hotel and Spa in Ocean City, Maryland.
Participants learned how to do fun, engaging science programs, including a demo on how the moon formed and a ‘safe’ exploding volcano.
The presentation was very well received, so much so that Gloria has been asked and accepted an invitation to return for the MACS 2013 convention!

October 8, 2012: Save the Date!

Science for Seniors will be at this year’s Pennsylvania Association of Activity Professionals Convention! PAPA will be hosting its 2012 State Conference on October 7, 8, 9, 10 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College, PA 16803.

On October 8, Gloria will be speaking on “Activity Directors and the Press,” a critical discussion for all of us— activity directors, activity assistants, administrators, certified therapeutic recreation specialists— as we move forward.

If you attended the Maryland Activities Coordinators Society’s 35th annual conference this month, you’ll know that Science for Seniors was there. Our experience was truly wonderful, and we will soon be discussing the valuable takeaways from that conference!

And if you were with us in Maryland, or plan to be at the PAPA convention, please add a comment or say hello on our contact form. We always invite you to join in the conversation!

The Pioneer Network National Convention

Science for Seniors has been very busy this year, presenting at nine local, state and national conventions! Our most recent presentation was in August at The Pioneer Network 2012 National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida. This organization is leading the way for culture change in retirement, long term care and adult day care facilities.

At the conference, using materials that cost less than $20 per experiment, Gloria demonstrated programs in earth science, space travel, biology, and chemistry.

Gloria also showed members how adding a science program to their monthly calendar can truly engage residents in discussions of current events, such as a space program tied to the landing of the newest Mars rover. Such discussions can also help with the recall of memories: Gloria told of a resident with dementia who, during a program on global warming, remembered her trip to the South Pole. She, a woman who seldom speaks, mentioned that she had been to Antarctica, a fact that was subsequently verifed by her children.

In September, Gloria will present Science for Seniors to the Maryland Activity Professionals Convention. We will update you then!