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I Want Mom's 90th Birthday to Be Special



"How best do we celebrate our mother’s 90th birthday? While I’m certain she will be grateful for anything we do, I’d like to figure out a way to make this one really special. We do believe this may be her last milestone birthday.

Yes, I could ask her, but I think the element of surprise might be best. I’m not necessarily thinking surprise party, just surprise elements.

A bit of additional information - Mom is semi-independent, living in a retirement community. She has her own apartment, a few good friends, and lots of family.

In your experience, what do 90-year-olds appreciate in a birthday celebration?"



Congratulations to your almost 90-year-old mother for making it to this milestone. It is indeed cause for celebration.

It’s hard to go wrong when doing something nice for someone else. Any effort is usually appreciated. You can do things that make it special and memorable though.

Facilities like hers have gathering rooms you can use. If your mother enjoys a gathering it can be done where she lives, in one of her children’s homes, or a restaurant. The location is likely less important than the quests and the activities.

For a 90-year-old, the first thing to keep in mind is their physical capabilities. No hang-gliding or pool parties. This age group should have activities geared toward what they like to do and can do.

With everything you plan, keep the guest of honor in mind. Make a list of activities your mother likes and can participate in. Since she lives independently, she likely has the ability to play cards, write, move about, and feed herself.

To make this birthday memorable do something out of the ordinary. Special food, a made-up game, funny prizes, costumes, etc. Any old thing you can dream up will work. People will talk about it for years and likely copy it.

I will give you two ideas that I made up and used with my family: For my mother’s 90th I reached out to every friend and relative I could find. I asked them to write a birthday letter and include their memories with Mom. I had them all sent to my house. I then placed each letter in a larger envelope and mailed one per day for months.

The second idea is one I have used at the holiday. Instead of exchanging gifts, each guest was to wrap up something from their house they felt could be enjoyed by someone else. We passed the packages around and each person had the option of keeping or auctioning off theirs. We used poker chips to bid and purchase. Everyone loved this game, and so did Mom.

The secret to a great memory lies within you. Consider Mom’s abilities when planning and make it unique and fun. Give little thought to it not working out.