We get so wrapped up with birthday milestones for kids we forget the older bunch who should be equally if not more celebrated for their hard fought milestones. Obviously how you celebrate those special seniors in your life is up to you, and depends much on their personality and what you know about them, as well as how close they are to you. But here are somethings to keep in mind as you plan those once in a life time events that you know they will appreciate immensely.
- Have a sense of the physical capacity of the person you are celebrating. This doesn’t just mean whether they can handle golfing, sailing, or walking – it can also be as simple as do they have afternoon naps or need to rest after sitting up for more than an hour.
- Focus on experience based gifts rather than consumables – they will likely appreciate them more, but keep in mind point number 1.
- Family isn’t always their priority; maybe they would rather have their celebrations with their pets or friends in the local group. It may be both so any activity might have to be pet friendly or take into account other seniors with certain physical needs.
- Experience based gifts should be appropriate to their preference….that’s a given. They may not appreciate having a Virtual Realty experience like you would, but rather an afternoon tea picnic, in the end it’s for them and not for what you want to do or what you think is cool.
- For those with more serious physical needs make sure you have the right emergency contact numbers on hand and know where the local clinic or hospital is. You should also be mindful of any medication they need to take with them.
- Food and drinks should be as per their physical capacity, i.e. if they are diabetic or have high blood pressure go easy on both sugars and salts. That should be the case for all ages really. Their body may not agree with alcohol, even if it’s a small amount.
- Think comfort, conversations, appreciation of the moments – don’t pack an action intensive or highly stimulating experience. In most cases, not all, even if they can do laser quest – they would rather a winery cart tour or a rustic B & B in a farm. Although it takes all sorts and one should not generalise, some may prefer the nature walk/hike, a concert or an IMAX movie that require a tad more energy.
- Always do a follow up call or visit, having so much fun one instance and being ignored right after can be more depressing than not having any fun in the first place. Have a fallow up call and slowly ease them back to the routine.
- Take lots of photos of the day. Then share them or print them and put them in an album or a frame for a nice follow up gift to remind them of why you went through all the trouble in the first place. You can even hire an affordable amateur photographer to follow you around so that you are free to enjoy the experience as well and they can make sure it’s one less thing you need to worry about.