Senior Birthday Celebrations To Remember


In the salon the other day, I overheard another customer saying they were attending a “175th birthday party,” that evening. Thinking I was attending a unique event with a friend’s 10th anniversary wedding vow renewal, I wondered if I’d heard correctly.

“Yes,” the customer continued. “My great grandmother is turning 100 and my grandmother is turning 75, so they are having a 175th celebration.”

Still impressive, although not as astounding as the literal interpretation, which would be a single person turning 175 years old.

The oldest person on record alive today is a Japanese woman named Misao Okawa, who celebrated her 116th birthday this March. Okawa celebrated with a birthday cake and loved ones and told news reporters she was “kind of” happy to be turning 116.

Many older people want to skip their birthday parties. Many feel they just don’t want to celebrate. Others don’t want to “impose” a celebration on loved ones. And some find it too depressing as too many of their friends have already passed on.

As with any aspect of aging, the choice of whether or not to celebrate a birthday is a personal decision. But as we enter the month of parties, where our weekends are spent celebrating dads, grads, communions, confirmations and more, let’s look at the best reasons octogenarians and beyond should still celebrate their birthdays, and some fun ways to do so.

Reasons to Celebrate
Whether you’re living at home, with relatives or in a senior community, friends and family want to see you. Really, they do. But sometimes it takes a special occasion like a party to shake up people’s jam-packed schedules and drag them out of their homes. I think we’d all agree a birthday is a much better reason to celebrate than a funeral, so give your loved ones an excuse to come see you with the bash of the century, or even just some cake and memories around your beloved kitchen table.

If you find celebrating a birthday depressing, it may help to count your blessings, which could include all the loved ones still in your life. Studies show that isolation is a major factor for depression in seniors, so surround yourself with friends and family to beat the blues.

How to Celebrate
Party planning may not be your thing, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s okay to ask friends and family to bring a dish, making your birthday a potluck affair. Or, you can do a catered brunch with bagels and pastries for an easy, inexpensive gathering.

Liven up the event with party games. Ask each guest to draw a picture of a favorite memory you shared with them. It’s your job to guess the memory. Or ask each guest to bring an item that will conjure up memories and you get to share the “story” behind that item.

If you consider yourself to have a thick skin and an excellent sense of humor, plan a roast, where guests offer up insults with love.

Make Your Celebration Special at Any Age
Whether you’re celebrating a milestone 75th, 80th or 100th birthday, or just the passing of another year, the important thing is not the food you serve or what you do, but that you’ve taken the time to gather with loved ones on this special day.

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