It is important to make every guest at a party feel welcome. But when you are having a party where some or all of the guests will be around 80 years old, some thought needs to be put into party activities and what kind of party favors you might hand out. As people age, their vision, dexterity and hearing ability changes, so keep that in mind and give gifts and party favors that are thoughtful and fun.
Birthday Parties and Celebrations
Birthday parties are in honor of someone, and everyone may have brought a gift for the honored guest. Many hosts send everyone home with a gift bag. If this is the case, don't change any of the gift bags to reflect who receives them. If your gift bags contain a pair of sunglasses, there's no reason any 80-year-old would not appreciate that. If everyone at the celebration is going to be over 80 years old, then the gift bag can be customized for that age group. Remember, anything oversized, like an easy-to-open keychain or giant paperclips will be useful and appreciated. Another great favor is a credit card-sized magnifying card for reading small print. Things like large chip clips and grippers to open stuck jar lids are wonderful as well. And while bath soaps and lotions may be appreciated, consider a bath soap with relaxing and ache-relief properties and/or mentholated lotions; though these things may seem "too practical," practicality is actually going to be much appreciated by this age group. Decorate the gift bag itself to jazz up the utilitarian elements.
Games and Prizes
Parties that are specifically for older people with no particular person being honored might include some games and prizes. Memory games are great to play. Give everyone a colored and shaped card when they arrive. Everyone tries to find someone with the matching color and shape. Then later, have everyone sit in a circle and see if they can remember who has what color and shape. Trivia games without the board can be perfect party games. Using the trivia cards, ask the questions to the whole group and let people answer by raising their hands or just shouting out the answer. Whoever gets the answer correct gets the card. At the end of the game, whoever has the most cards wins. CDs of songs from the era when your guests were in their 20s or 30s are always appreciated. Likewise older TV show compilations and movies from the 30s and 40s on DVD are popular. And don't forget perishable items. Older people love fruit baskets or any kind of dried fruit because it's very healthy to eat and it's something most people don't buy for themselves.
White Elephant Parties
There are many names for this kind of party, but whatever you call it, the rules are usually about the same. Everyone brings a wrapped gift they received and want to trade away. This can be fun for older people, because the gifts often come with a story that can be shared. Let everyone know they can trade their gifts, which will start conversations between guests. Make sure there are plenty of scissors around for cutting ribbons and paper, since dexterity may be a problem. Buy scissors with rounded ends, like those for young children, to keep accidents from happening.
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