Birthdays are fun for all ages. A good way to commemorate the day you were born is to celebrate with a party. Everybody loves a good party! But there are other ways to have a fun and memorable birthday. Older adults will enjoy a simple celebration of their decades of life experience – and the wit and wisdom that come with aging.

Here are some suggestions to help celebrants feel loved and remembered on their special day.

  • Listen to the 1953 song “Young at Heart” sung by Frank Sinatra. Ask: What does “young at heart” mean to you?
  • Finish this saying: “Life begins at_________.” Ask: How do you feel about aging? At what age did you feel and look your best?
  • Write a poem together with the title “A Recipe for Long Life.” Discuss the topic (long life) and assemble participants’ ingredients into a recipe format (e.g., a pound of friendship, an ounce of humor).
  • Share recollections of milestone birthdays, e.g., 16th, 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, etc. Ask: Which birthday was the most memorable for you? Did you celebrate with a big party? Describe the invitations, decorations, favors, food, and music. Did you ever give or receive a birthday roast?
  • Gather pictures of the birthday honoree from each decade of his/her life. Ask the honoree to share something special from each decade.
  • Hold a birthday party with a nostalgic theme. Suggestion: Highlight the decade in which the guest of honor was born, e.g., 1930s music, movies, fashions, foods.
  • Decorate with smiley face birthday party supplies and enjoy some clean birthday humor. Share jokes, funny stories, and silly songs. Ask participants to give their best version of a snicker, giggle, chuckle, cackle, belly laugh, etc.
  • Reminisce about family birthday traditions, such as eating birthday cake and ice cream. List types of cakes and ask your group to describe the texture and flavor of each one. Suggestions: hummingbird, ice box, marble, sponge, angel food, chiffon, devil’s food, red velvet. Sample some favorites.
  • Discuss birthday customs and traditions of different cultures. Learn to say “Happy Birthday” in different languages, e.g., Spanish – Feliz Cumpleanos!
  • For honorees, share headlines from old newspapers about “The Day I Was Born.” What was happening in the world on the day the honoree was born? How has the world changed?
  • Design birthday hats, original birthday cards with personalized messages, or laminated picture placemats (with birthday greetings from the group).
  • Reminisce about popular birthday gifts. A favorite for the ladies: jewelry. Display some jewelry such as birthstone rings, charm bracelets, or watches.
  • Hold an intergenerational birthday party. The goal: Make the older adults feel like kids again! Enjoy old-fashioned games such as Hide the Thimble, Hot Potato, Pin the Tail. Invite a clown to entertain the group. Serve birthday cupcake cones.
  • Find out what famous people share a birthday in the same month as the honorees. Assemble a trivia quiz on the celebrities.



It’s time to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Elvis on January 8! Decorate with a 1950s or rock ’n roll theme. Invite an Elvis impersonator to perform for your group. Take a poll of favorite songs. Challenge your group to an Elvis trivia quiz.

  1. What is the birthplace of Elvis Aaron Presley? Tupelo, Mississippi
  2. What is the name of Elvis’ Memphis home? Graceland
  3. In what branch of the military did Elvis serve? U.S. Army
  4. Elvis is known as the King of what? Rock ’n Roll
  5. In the 1961 romantic comedy Blue Hawaii, Elvis plays Chad Gates. Who plays the role of his mother in the film? Angela Lansbury
  6. What was the name of Elvis’ first hit single in 1956? “Heartbreak Hotel”
  7. What was the name of Elvis’ first movie in 1956? Love Me Tender
  8. Finish the lyrics: “Don’t you step on my blue. . .” what? Suede shoes
  9. A daughter was born to Elvis and Priscilla Presley in 1968. What is her name? Lisa Marie
  10. On what popular Sunday night TV variety show did Elvis appear three times? The Ed Sullivan Show

“BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS” written by Sue Hansen. © 2007 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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