Every week it seems, visitors come to The Saybrook at Haddam with gifts, balloons, flowers or other treats that celebrate a resident’s birthday. These birthday visitors sometimes stay for a special meal in a resident’s apartment home or in one of our private dining rooms – or they head out with the residents to enjoy dinner at a favorite local restaurant. Whichever way the day is celebrated, seeing a smiling birthday “boy” or “girl” lifts everyone’s spirits.
We love to celebrate these birthdays, too. Each month, we host a community party in our front parlor to recognize all those with a birthday that month. These parties are always a great deal of fun with activities, live entertainment and, of course, birthday cake. They are particularly meaningful for the resident who has family far away or who maybe prefers not to be the soul center of attention on their “big day.”
In addition to a large event, our executive director, Jeff Williams, holds a private luncheon each month just for those with a birthday. Jeff and our activities director, Merrianne, invite these small groups to our private dining room where they share a chef-prepared meal, special drinks and desserts, and great conversation. Residents enjoy Jeff and Merrianne’s undivided attention as they tell stories and memories of birthdays past. In this little way, we help residents feel special, celebrate their lives, and get to know them on a deeper level.
Sometimes, especially on milestone birthdays, families and friends plan larger parties or activities for residents. Whether these are held here in the community or in another location, we love seeing pictures and hearing stories from the big day – and we are always willing to help with any planning or organizing if needed.
The Blog “Help Parents Age Well” discusses some dos and don’ts when it comes to celebrating birthdays for elderly relatives and friends – strongly recommending you respect the likes and dislikes of the birthday boy or girl. For instance, if a senior loves to travel, plan a destination celebration or take a birthday trip to visit a relative who moved far away. If a senior hates surprise parties, don’t plan one for his or her 90th birthday. This may seem a little obvious but is a good reminder for the planner who gets sidetracked or likes to go overboard.
We also appreciate families of residents struggling with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other memory-related illness who come to us for guidance on how to celebrate birthdays and other special events. We have many suggestions on activities, gifts, and even foods that focus on creating a sense of specialness for the resident – allowing them to enjoy the moment when they are the center of attention.
As we age, birthdays may not be quite as welcome as when we were younger – but they should be just as fun. At The Saybrook at Haddam, we see the joy birthdays bring and we love to be part of it. Mostly, though, we love to watch all those visitors with flowers, balloons and giant smiles brighten the day of residents.
For a personalized tour of The Saybrook at Haddam and its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or call David Downey at 860-345-8779.