Do you want to celebrate Grandma’s birthday, but signing her out of the nursing home and lugging the wheelchair around town seems like a bad idea? Chances are, Grandma has made friends at the nursing home who would love to join in her birthday celebration. Here are a few tips on how to throw a birthday party in a nursing home and include residents throughout the facility.
Ask for permission: The first vital step in planning any event at a nursing home facility is requesting permission. Most facilities are happy you’re bringing an activity for the residents into the home. They will tell you what time is best for the residents to gather and probably allow you to decorate and set up in a room (such as a game room) for the gathering.
Remember special diet restrictions: Many of the patients are only allowed sugar-free treats unless prepared by the staff. If you can’t find anyone to make a sugar-free cake, or you’re simply not interested in going that route, buy some sugar-free cookies or angel food cake with fruit as an alternative to a regular Happy Birthday cake. Check out the recipe on this site for Diabetic Cake. Make sure the nursing home staff is aware of what food you’re bringing into the facility. Again, they might have suggestions.
Decorations: Bring lots of colorful decorations and Happy Birthday banners into the party room. Since residents aren’t allowed to leave often, they welcome new surroundings. You could even have a theme, such as a luau.
Activities: Guests will enjoy looking at photos of the honoree. Mat and frame photos from childhood to adulthood, or bring photo albums for the guest of honor to enjoy and share. This will spark conversation for hours. Nursing home residents also enjoy games, but remember the physical limitations some will have. Bingo is a favorite, but it’s one they may frequently play at the home already. Trivial Pursuit and Name That Tune are also great ideas. Ask if the facility will allow a karaoke machine in the party area.
Gifts: It is difficult to buy presents for a friend or family member living in a nursing facility. More than likely, they don’t have much room and have very limited table space for knick-knacks. But your loved ones never grow tired of friendly faces. Give them a new family portrait framed for the wall. Many seniors have craft hobbies as well. Knitting or crocheting supplies, puzzles, books and movies are all great options. Don’t ask the residents at the facility to bring gifts, as most are on fixed incomes and many don’t have access to their money or an opportunity to purchase gifts.