If you have a family member about to reach their 80th birthday consider yourself both honoured and lucky.
Whether it’s a parent, grandparent, or relative of some remove, it’s the family’s job to make this special day a truly memorable celebration for someone getting excitingly close to a century of being alive.
Of course, 80th birthday parties aren’t the same as throwing a party for a child or a mid-life adult. Birthday parties for the impressively elderly need a little bit of special planning to make sure that the birthday-guest has the best time possible with loved ones and surrounded by wonderful reminders of the past.
Here are a few clever tips on how to plan a great DIY 80th birthday party.
The Basics Of 80th Birthdays
Let’s get started with the basics: guests, venue, and menu. This will give you a great square-one from which to plan everything else.
Guest List – Gather Meaningful Loved Ones
When an older person celebrates, they enjoy connecting with people who have been meaningful to them over the years. Siblings, spouses, children, old friends, and grandchildren are all important guests to have on your list.
Talk to the birthday-guest or someone close to them to find out who would be the most meaningful to see at their birthday party. You might even consider reaching out to long-lost friends and relations to bring your birthday relative on a pleasant walk down memory lane.
Don’t forget the children. Seniors often love to watch and hear the newest generation playing. It reminds them that the family continues and brings a bright innocent joy to the party than an all-adult party would be missing.
Venue – Familiar and Relaxed For A Family Gathering
Most seniors don’t want to ride roller coasters or rent rowdy restaurants for their birthday. Relaxed venues are a better choice, where the senior can sit quietly and enjoy the company of those who mean the most to them.
For many, it’s best if you can plan the party in a venue that is familiar to them and meaningful in some way in the past. Parties thrown in the family home can be warm and wonderful. Or, if you want to choose a commercial venue, consider a local restaurant that means something to the special person like the restaurant they proposed in or the hall they got married in.
Menu – Know Your 80th Birthday Guest And Family Favourites
Menus for 80th parties can cause worry for party planners, but it’s easier than you think. The key is to know your senior and your guest list. Make sure to have a few special dishes that are personal favourite treats for your special birthday guest. Their favourite dinner dish, side dishes, and of course their favourite flavor of cake, pie, or tart as the main event.
You should also be aware of the guest of honour’s diet restrictions (and the restrictions of their fellow-senior guests). In general, talk heart-smart and diabetic-friendly recipes with whoever is cooking or the caterers you hire. In many cases, you don’t have to sacrifice flavour to make sure the food is healthy and easy to digest.
Then don’t forget to include family favourites if the party is essentially a family reunion. Potato salad, mac’n’cheese, fried chicken or BBQ, or your family’s classic casserole. This will keep every one including the kids full and happy.
Now that you’ve got the basics under your belt, let’s talk timeline. Landmark senior parties are less likely to feature water fights and more likely to feature board games and long talks about fun family memories. So go with the flow and plan a relaxed itinerary.
Bring The Joy To The Special Guest
For any person over 75, chances are they won’t be ‘making the rounds’ among the guests. Instead, plan to bring warmth and fun to your birthday-senior while they sit happily in a comfy chair.
Center games and conversations around where your senior will be sitting. Plan to bring them food and cake and presents, then clear away anything that gets in the way. This will allow your impressively aged relative to enjoy themselves all day without expending too much energy getting around to each game or present.
Games Down Memory Lane
When planning games and events, remember to highlight the good times your 80th birthday person has shared with the guests who have come to celebrate with them. Get creative and invent games based on what you have like ‘name that memory’ from looking in photo albums. Encourage presents that spike memories. Challenge everyone to go around the room and name the funniest memory they remember sharing with the birthday.
Let the Children Play
We mentioned that children playing is often a joy to older members of the family, even if they no longer frolic with the children in person. Instead of seeing children as a distraction, plan to let them play in the background though they may not have many memories to share in the memory games. Include the children old enough to join the conversation and plan quiet or outdoor activities for children of guests that will create a warm and festive atmosphere.
Plan an Early Bedtime
And no matter how much fun everyone is having, remember that seniors and children both share a need for early bedtimes. Anyone pushing 80 or older will likely tire after a few hours of festivities and the best older person birthday parties are prepared to wrap up before things get to fatiguing. If your birthday-senior is lively and wants to talk all night, that can happen.
But make sure the official itinerary is finished in time for everyone to get to bed early and happy.
Final Tips On DIY 80th Birthdays
The Birthday Chair
Put some real thought into the chair you expect your birthday-guest to sit in during the festivities. They’ll likely be staying on one spot for a few hours and you want the chair to be absolutely comfy. If your senior has a special chair that they prefer to live in most days, consider having it moved to the head of the table, centre of the living room, or booked venue where the party will take place. If not, work with them to pick the right chair to put in the place of honour.
A Little Taste Of Childhood Favourites
Many seniors will want a taste of treats their doctor would advise against. Of course, they know better than to — say — eat an entire tray of treacle tarts. What they can do, however, is have one delicious nostalgic taste. A tiny portion of childhood favourites that are no longer safely healthy is how elderly celebrate landmark birthdays so don’t be a stickler about dietary restrictions. Just sparing.
The People Matter Most Of All
Finally, remember that it’s not really about the cake, the streamers, the venue or the menu. It’s about spending time with loving family and friends. It’s about celebrating the wonder of being alive another year surrounded by good memories and people who love the birthday-guest.
However the party goes, remember to focus more on joy and family time over any particular detail. As long as the senior and their guests have a wonderful time, you’ve thrown a successful 80th birthday party.
Planning parties of all stripes is what Walkers Party Hire does best. For more tips, tricks, insights, and the supplies you need to throw a spectacular party contact us today!