Birthday party for 90 year old recap

l pinkmountain
8 days ago

The party for my Dad's 90th went off great. So if you're thinking about a birthday party for an elder during covid, here's what went well and what didn't.

The mask thing was tricky. Everyone was vaccinated, but one guest was a doctor and one was a traveler (for work) and one had grandkids they hung out with, so very difficult to say that they hadn't been exposed to the delta variant. But masks make it difficult for elders to pick up on the conversation in large groups. OK one on one but in a big room, much more difficult. No one was sick, and the doctor and traveler were routinely tested for work, so we went without masks. I spaced the chairs around the room so that no one had to be close up to anyone else. I invited 14 (if you count me and my Dad) and there were four no shows so there were eleven of us including the guest of honor). One couple had a big function to attend for church but are close friends so just stopped in to pay their respects so they didn't even sit down or eat. Dad sees them a lot at other times. So there were only nine people at the house at one time, so we could keep fairly well spaced out. It was super warm, but Dad was not up for what he calls "tummult" of having the party outside.

So the only major glitch was Dad's air conditioning was not working. He's almost always "chilly" so hadn't used it much over the summer or recently, so it was a tad warm. Few of the elders complained. I was the one moving around the most so I felt it the most. I opened windows but the outdoor air was hotter than the indoor air. At least the room was fairly well ventilated!

So the biggest revelation was that the coffee (decaf) was the preferred beverage! I set up two separate stations, one with hot water for tea with an assortment of tea bags, and one with the decaf. I served almost everyone. No one wanted tea. So I could have used that area for something else. Cider was the second most popular drink. I popped the cork on some sparkling cider and that was a hit. That's a great idea to add a festive "pop the cork" mood at a party where folks maybe can't drink for health reasons, as they age.

I found an assortment of pre-sliced cheeses in the deli section at the grocery, which saved me time slicing, and they were very good. And it was an easy way to get a variety of cheeses in a small amount. I was surprised at how good they were. I also bought some pre-sliced beef summer sausage, and it was also surprisingly good, not overly spicy or fatty like some. That all was a big hit. Another unexpected hit was the last of my home made fridge pickles in a cut glass dish. I just wanted to get rid of them, but they were so well liked by one family that I went home after the party to get them some jars of my canned pickles to take home.

The only bomb was the pinwheel finger sandwiches I made from some whole wheat tortillas and spreads I already had in the fridge. I did spinach dip, hummus and guacamole. But mixed together on the plate, without a clear distinction as to which pinwheel was what, folks didn't know and weren't adventurous to try. I could have easily subbed the sweet and sour little smokies, but I didn't do those because counter space near a plug was in short supply. Dad has a cute little crockpot that would have been perfect. Oh well, there was enough food an no one missed them but I now have a lot of pinwheel sandwiches to eat up. Looking back on it, I should have made deviled eggs with home made relish!

The banana pineapple cupcakes with cream cheese frosting were a hit and were divine.

The other minor problem was folks were picking up the cheese with their fingers, even though I had cocktail toothpicks next to the cheese plate. This was not really a problem since the cheese went on their own plates, but it was not ideal. Normally you would have a cheese serving fork, but that would have meant everyone handling that . . . if I had it to do over again I would have stuck toothpicks in the slices of cheese . . . but that's labor intensive . . . no one touched other people's food, but their hands were over and on the cheese plate . . . sigh. I could have also put out little disposable cocktail forks. No one used the fancy cocktail toothpick spears. I liked those better because not plastic . . . maybe I'll have to get a set of metal ones. Cocktail forks were ritzy wedding gifts back in my mother's day. Not sure if I still have them, I didn't look. I'll bet some could be had inexpensively from a thrift or antique store nowdays though . . .

The guests who came from an hour away had been at my Dad's 50th, 70th and now 90th. We had a photo in the album from the 70th of their daughter sitting on my Dad's lap. She is now 27 and was in attendance. So that was one of the nicest touches. Good people. Another guest was 89 and was a friend of my Dad's since childhood. That was also wonderful, they hadn't had a chance to get together socially in a long time due to the pandemic. He's battling low grade lymphoma so is immune compromised. He was vaccinated and even had the booster. So we did as much due diligence as we could. It was still a challenge though. But everyone was trying their best, accepting responsibility for keeping the immune compromised safe. The toll this pandemic has taken on them is huge, and the solution is not denial of the problem . . . overall, a small birthday party for an elder is preferred under most circumstances I would say. Much easier for them to enjoy things in small doses, requires less energy. Cards are great too. My Dad jokes that his trip to the mailbox is the highlight of his day. So much nicer if there's a letter or card. Works for every day too. If you want to do something nice for an elder, call or send them a letter, don't have to worry about germs for that . . . some cousins sent photos via e-mail, that was also much appreciated.

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