Birthday parties are significant for people of all ages. In fact, it is probably one of the most looked forward to events in a person’s life. That being said, if you have an elderly loved one who is getting ready for a milestone birthday celebration, then why not make it as special as it can be?
Now is the perfect time to show your senior loved one just how much they mean to your life.
To help you with this happy birthday event, we have a list of great ideas that will hopefully inspire you and give your guest of honor an amazing day.
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Table of Contents
How Do You Plan A Party For The Elderly?
Adult birthday party ideas can be a lot of fun and can encompass a huge array of topics. The trick is to stick to the interests that your birthday guy or gal enjoys.
So, to start planning for this special celebration, think about the person you are planning this birthday for. What would they enjoy? How can their special day become even more memorable than it already is? What events would help them to have a good time?
Senior birthdays are a big deal. So, instead of just booking another restaurant or hotel room with friends and family members – try planning something special for their individual personality and interests! You can go all out by getting really creative when you’re picking locations.
Some great party location ideas are…
- Catered party at home and bring in some entertainment
- Catered party at a location of their interest such as a museum, art gallery, park, the zoo, etc.
- Pot luck party at an Airbnb or other rented home
- Party at a bed and breakfast in a historic home
The location, of course will also need to depend on the number of party guests that you will be inviting. For some senior citizens, one of the best ways to celebrate is with a small and intimate party. Others prefer a big party that marks their special day in style! So do your best to match the event to what they would prefer. This will help to ensure that the birthday person has a great time.
Steps To Planning The Best Birthday Party For Your Senior Loved One
Here are some steps to take that can help you to plan a wonderful party for your birthday boy or girl.
Step 1 – Consider The Date and Time
Usually (depending on your senior’s physical and mental condition) older adults are most alert and energetic in the early afternoon. So, planning a party for around noon or 1 pm would be ideal. A brunch type of event could work well.
Also, keep the length of the party to 3 or 4 hours at the most. It can be exhausting to entertain for so many hours and if the guest list also includes many other seniors, it may be too exhausting for them too!
I also know many seniors who simply do a tea and cake party in the early afternoon, right in their living room. They hold it around 2 pm and then send everyone home by 4 pm. It all depends on what your birthday person can tolerate and would enjoy the most.
Step Two – Consider Following A Theme
Whenever I throw a party, I do my best to make it a themed party. It makes it much easier to plan on what to eat, how to decorate, what games to play and what kind of entertainment to include. Plus, it can be a fun way to introduce costumes and props into the event.
But try to keep the theme to what the honored guest enjoys. If they are into photography, make that the theme. If they love movies, then make movies and film the theme. You can even ask the guests (elderly guests too) to come dressed according to the theme.
Having a theme can also help with the decor of the birthday cake and the party room.
But if you are stumped and not sure what theme to do, here are some fun birthday party ideas for you.
- A movie night with vintage movies or films with their favorite actors.
- A memory lane theme with photos, memorabilia, etc.
- Fifties sock hop.
- Karaoke night.
- Travel or a specific location (maybe they loved their trip to Greece?).
- Music theme using their favorite musician or music they grew up with.
- Favorite foods (Italian, Chinese, American Barbecue, etc.
- Fun games like board games, video games, card games or other party games. Make it complete with contests and prizes.
- Spa day at a local spa. Maybe even a spa weekend!
- A weekend at a rented house at the beach or the mountains, whatever their preference is.
- A traditional, fancy afternoon tea.
- Hire a private chef to give cooking lessons to everyone who attends the party.
- A craft party. Everyone working together on a Lego project, a scrapbook album, etc.
- A mixology party with both alcoholic drinks and mocktail drinks.
- Restaurant hopping with a limousine. Appetizers at one restaurant, an entree at another and dessert at yet a third.
- Hire a local band playing their favorite genre of music.
- Hold a Zoom party event with a hat theme.
Whatever theme you choose, consider your elderly loved one’s physical and cognitive condition. After all, you want it to be fun for them, not exhausting or exasperating.
Step Three – Capture The Memories
Either hire a photographer (or photography student) to capture the event with photos and/or video OR assign certain guests to take photos. Of course, there are disposable cameras that you can give to every guest and they can take photos as well.
Afterwards, create a beautiful album filled with the photos from that event.
What Can I Do Instead Of A Birthday Party?
If your senior loved one would rather not have a party for their birthday, what other types of ways can you celebrate their special day?
Here are some ideas to explore.
- Spend the day at a location that they would enjoy. The park, the beach, the mountains, etc. Or better yet, make it longer and rent a home or condo in that area.
- Hold a movie marathon at home with their favorite movies or movies with their favorite actors.
- Take him or her out on a shopping spree.
- Order in from a favorite restaurant.
- Hire a massage therapist to come to your home for a private massage. Maybe even a manicure and pedicure too.
How Do People With Dementia Celebrate Birthdays
The number of people diagnosed with dementia is on the rise, and it can be difficult to know what your loved one needs when they are living with this diagnosis.
A birthday may seem like an insignificant celebration but many important moments in life happen during special occasions or celebrations – birthdays being just one example. So whether its hard for them now or later as time goes by we should try our best not only to remember their lifetime achievements, but also to take care to never forget all the amazing milestones they’ve achieved so far!
Elderly people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may not understand the reason for celebrations, but that doesn’t mean that they should be ignored.
It is important to do an activity that your senior loved one can tolerate. Some individuals with dementia are not able to do well in large crowds or in unfamiliar places. Some can’t stand loud noises or demonstrate increased agitation at a certain time of day.
It’s important and a good idea to know all of these before you plan a birthday party for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are some birthday ideas that you can do with someone who has dementia and the entire family.
- A manicure / pedicure may be a great way to celebrate the day if they can tolerate being touched.
- For men, they may enjoy a haircut and a professional shave.
- A car trip through town or the countryside with a stop at a picnic bench or roadside diner may be fun.
- A trip to the ice cream store.
- Simply spending time with them doing whatever it is that they enjoy doing.
Birthday Party Ideas For Seniors Living In Assisted Living Or Nursing Home Facilities
If your senior loved one is in an assisted living or nursing home, you can certainly work with the recreational therapist (RT) to plan their birthday party. Of course, the birthday person can also be taken home for the day or out for a meal if you decide that you do not want to hold the event where they are living.
But if you do want to celebrate at the facility then you can work together with the RT on decorations and activities and of course who would be attending.
Some facilities allow you to bring in your own decorations, food, etc. Others may have stricter rules so you will have to check with the facility that your elderly loved one is in.
Virtual Birthday Party For The Elderly
As I mentioned earlier in this article, another great way to hold a party or celebration for an elderly person’s birthday is virtually. This can be done with Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts or Facetime, just to name the most popular platforms.
Here are some ideas on how you can make these virtual events just a bit more fun.
- Ask attendees to wear a funny hat. Or a hat that matches the theme you are holding. It could be a snow hat, a pirate’s hat or a hat from the 1940’s, etc.
- Ask everyone to tell a story of their favorite memory of the birthday person.
- Or everyone can perhaps tell their favorite joke or funny story. Doesn’t have to be about the birthday person necessarily.
- Have everyone sit in front of their camera with their own dinner. This way everyone can have dinner together, virtually.
- Decorate the background space of the birthday person with balloons, banners, etc.
The best party ideas for older adults should be tailored to the needs and interests of the honored guest. It is important that you take into account any physical disabilities or limitations that all the guests may have, as well as their mental abilities.
We hope you found these tips helpful for hosting a birthday party.