Gloria A. Hoffner

Science for Seniors: Hands-On Learning Activities

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Science for Seniors is based on one belief: We are never too old to learn. Science for Seniors shows activity leaders how to provide stimulating science activities that provide both entertainment and enlightenment, as part of a life-long learning process.


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Science for Seniors is based on one belief: We are never too old to learn. Science for Seniors shows activity leaders how to provide stimulating science activities that provide both entertainment and enlightenment, as part of a life-long learning process.

Written in an informative and easy-to-follow style, Science for Seniors gives you basic science information and hands-on programs that any activity director or therapist can use with seniors of all intellectual and physical abilities.

Some of the topics covered in the book are volcanoes, oceans, global warming, rain forests, and outer space. With each subject, Science for Seniors provides step-by-step directions to a unique experiment or demonstration using ordinary household items such as eggs, water, baking soda, and salt.

In addition to the hands-on activities, Science for Seniors is geared towards engaging residents by providing them with science trivia, questions to spark conversations, resource material, and opportunities for further study.


Gloria Hoffner is an award-winning and nationally certified activity consultant and a former journalist with the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she wrote frequently about science and seniors.

She is the founder of Guitar with Gloria and Science for Seniors, a national company that provides activity programs at communities in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.

The Science for Seniors program earned her a first place award in the 2010 National Certification Council of Activity Professionals’ "Best Practice" award division. The award recognized Science for Seniors as the most outstanding new activity program design among retirement, assisted living, personal care, long-term care, and adult day center facilities.

Hoffner is also a frequent speaker at national and statewide conventions for professionals in the healthcare, activity, and certified therapeutic recreation fields.


Science for Seniors is 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.

Kimberly A. Cassia, BS, TRD, ACC, AC-BC, CDP

Science for Seniors is a comprehensive guide for developing interesting and educational science programs. The new wave of residents, including the baby boomer generation, will be looking for new opportunities to continue growing intellectually. This book, which includes everything you need to know to develop a diverse science program, is a helpful resource for the activity professional and recreational therapist.

Debbie Hommel, ACC/MC/EDU, CTRS
Executive Director of DH Special Services
Instructor of the Modular Education Program for Activity Professionals

Science for Seniors is a fun, engaging and educational book. The directions are easy to follow and presented in an organized fashion. Gloria’s book gives a very clear, concise formula by which anyone can lead a science experiment. I highly recommend it.

Laura A. Friis, BS, ADC, AP-BC
Program Chairperson, Massachusetts Council of Activity Professionals

Experienced activity leader and veteran journalist Gloria A. Hoffner delights seniors with experiments that demonstrate the wonders of science. Science for Seniors provides easy-to-follow instructions for captivating demonstrations that range from an erupting volcano to the mysteries of the sea. Winner of the 2010 NCCAP Best Practice Award, Gloria knows seniors want educational activities that challenge their minds… and Science for Seniors does just that.

Mary Anne Janco
Professional journalist and website content writer

I am so very proud of Gloria and all of her accomplishments. This book gives readers a treasury of proven practical ideas for helping senior citizens live happier and fuller lives. It is a storehouse of plans for professional directors of nursing homes, community programs, and senior citizen organizations. Her vast knowledge of the field and her hands-on experience shows on every page.

Having known Gloria professionally for a number of years and having her experience and insight make her a wonderful asset to not only Sterling’s Activity Department but also to the residents and other departments at our facility. Everyone benefits from her enthusiasm and talent and we are so very thankful to have Gloria as an instrumental influence in our lives.

Nancy Newman
Activity Director at Sterling Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center

You can see a sample of the book here. The first half of the excerpt describes how every experiment is run and the second half shows you the Volcano experiment.

Anthony Cirillo wrote a great article about Gloria and Science for Seniors on

Additional information

Weight 1 lbs
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 0.56 in

Trade Paper


288 pages


Idyll Arbor

Publication Date