Birthdays embody the experience of showing love and appreciation for your loved ones. We meticulously schedule and arrange for transit, gifts and accommodations and the look on our loved one’s face as they sit as the guest of honor makes it all worthwhile. This is true if they are 9 or 90 years old, a birthday is a celebration of them and for them. However, similar to all birthday parties, you have to be mindful of people’s preferences and accessibility. A 19-year-old might like to go see a horror film with his buddies, but that might be too scary for a 9-year-old who prefers bowling. As well, location and activity is an accessibility conversation. If you are throwing a party for an elderly loved one, you must find the balance between activities that they enjoy, and are accessible to them. You know your loved one best, so consider the tips in this article and apply them with your expertise.
Consider your venue when deciding where the party will be held. Holding a party at home may sound like a good idea, but the expectation of cleaning before the party and hosting may be too stressful for your elderly loved one. If you want to keep it close to home, have a close neighbor host a small gathering for a BBQ or dinner party. Is it accessible to the guest of honor and all the guests? Touch base with the venue to see if it is wheelchair and walker accessible with accessible washrooms. As well, if the venue has an outdoor area, check to see if it is on even ground to avoid accidental falls.
This is your loved one’s special day, so try and specify their party to their preferences while being mindful of accommodations. If your loved one tires easily, ask them when they are most alert, perhaps midday, and have the party at that time. Also, your elderly loved one will probably want to spend lots of time catching up with friends and family, but may not have the stamina for a full-day party. Keep the party centered on a meal, like a brunch or a dinner, and keep the length to 2-4 hours. With that in mind, food accommodation is also important for the health and safety of your guests. Take note of any dietary restrictions necessary to make everyone comfortable. Having diabetic- friendly food and sugar-free dessert options during the cake cutting can make the party accessible for everyone.
This is the fun part! Brainstorm with your elderly loved one and their close friends about what activity or theme would be suitable for the party. Some options include:
- Backyard BBQ
- Dining room Brunch
- Lunch at their favorite restaurant
- Dinner at a new place they have always wanted to try
- Mini golf
- Paint night
- Host a craft activity of their choice (like scrapbooking or watercolor)
- Video conferencing Zoom party
- Social Distance sidewalk party (each household stays in the car, holds up signs and drives slowly by the house of the guest of honor)
- Guided Yoga class
- Bingo or trivia games (make sure to bring prizes for competitive winners)
- Guided Tai Chi class
- Nature walk at a local wheelchair friendly park or beachfront
- And many more!
This is your elderly loved one`s special day, so honor it in a way that commemorates them and their joys. If accessibility is a challenge for you, consult your home care provider for more options and accommodations. The birthday boy may have his heart set on going to Ripley`s Aquarium in Toronto, but that may be difficult without professional help. Personal care workers are there to offer expertise in navigating every environment and supporting your elderly loved one by giving them the ability to be independent in the ways that matter.
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