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We want to do something for him, he is 90 something this Saturday. But also that day is his wedding anniversary. But he lost his wife less than a year ago. He is in an AL and can come and go as he pleases. Mobility is an issue. He can walk but not far, to and from car. He hates being there, but I believe stays because it was where his wife was last, and he knows he will probably need to be there in the quite near future anyway. We really want to bring him some joy for that day but DH and I are at a loss for ideas. We visit him regularly, but want to do something in addition. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
I never know where to post my questions, so I apologize.

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So update on the birthday.
First, let me thank you all for your ideas. Many great ideas and I truly appreciate your help and contribution. I will keep some of them in mind for my Moms 80th birthday in September, Lord willing.

Today was the Dear Man's birthday/anniversary. All did not go as planned or expected
Well DH's Grandpa passed away and the funeral this morning. So a damper on the day.
But, even better than what we could have done for our Dear Friend, His daughter came from out of town and has taken him on a little road trip to see his great grand children. A nice and unexpected surprise for him, That will bring him more joy than anything we could have done. So hopefully his next two days will be uplifting for him.
However before they left we hurried there so we could give him a card and some love. I was unable to go in as I have been sick and did not want to take a chance of getting him sick. So DH and Mom went in and visited. I wrote him a letter with lots of love and hugging him with my words, if possible. He was in a good mood and very happy to see them. Much better spirits than expected and so I am thankful to the Lord for working this all out for him. And especially being a difficult time for my family.
So I believe it all worked out for the best and I am so happy with the outcome.
Again I thank you and will keep a note of the things you all said for use on my Mom, or just another I love you day for our Dear Friend.
Thanks again
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Reply to smeshque
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I'd spring 'im. Does he have a favorite place he used to visit? Does he have an old friend from high school, college, or the military that you could take him to see? Does he like sports, perhaps take him for the day to a baseball/softball tournament and load him up with hot dogs and a ball cap. Does he have one friend in the AL that can go too?

This reminds me of a couple decades ago, my then-fiance' asked me what to give his mother, my future MIL. She was in her 80s. I said "your time". We both flew in from different states (military) to his mother's home. We grabbed her up for a three-day trip, paid all expenses, across the state to visit her 99-year-old best friend in a nursing home. They hadn't seen each other in decades. (Florrie, at 99, had a piano in her AL room and she rocked out on Big Band tunes!) We had a visit for the ages. Within a year both women died, but we were left knowing we made them very happy.

Taking such a trip can cost big coin, but it doesn't have to if the trip can be a done during the day such as within town. Just getting him out, quoting one of my Twisted Sisters, "to blow the stink out."
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gdaughter Jul 20, 2019
What a wonderful story. We never know the future and I am personally indebted to my sibling who, one time when I was visiting her in FL, drove me to see a beloved college instructor who I remained close to and had not seen in years. Although we kept in touch and talked, it wound up being such a blessing as the next time I saw her she was back here, but in hospice care and did not last long.
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My mother sustained a severe heart attack at age 93. We had celebrated her 90th in a big way, with over 70 guests at our church, a local chorus singing all the old songs, buffet, etc. as well as three large poster boards on which I had outlined, with photos and descriptions, the different interests and aspects of her life (families, handiwork, traveling, etc.) as well as a blown up photo of her second birthday photo from 1910! Others gave comments and our niece had contacted all Mom's friends from over the years to ask for a card or letter which she compiled into a great notebook along with her own humorous version of fake letters from, e.g., Bill Clinton, Queen Mother Elizabeth, the head of General Motors (from which my mother had received retirement for 28 years already), etc.
Following the heart attack three years later, I suddenly realized that my time with her would be limited, so I retired from a job I had loved to be there for her. Well, needless to say, I had a new job, because Mom recovered amazingly from the heart attack (had been in the ICU for 8 days, touch and go) and wanted to do so many things yet on her bucket list! The next summer we went to her first college reunion and she was obviously the oldest there, drove past the dorm where she had lived, and enjoyed her being honored at the dinner. We then headed for Albuquerque for the balloon fiesta, where I pushed her all over in the wheelchair; then to Hot Springs, AR to visit all the bath houses of historic fame, to Hilton Head to feel the sand once more under her feet, to a Buddhist temple for a vegetarian fundraiser (she got on the front page of our paper for being there at age 95!), then to Nashville to do a reading from Corinthians at our daughter's wedding, etc. After the 90th celebration, it became obvious that Mom was going to last a lot longer, so for her 95th we had a nice afternoon dessert tea for local friends of hers and ours, and thereafter celebrated each succeeding year until here came the big 1-0-0-! She'd just been in the hospital for a difficult bout with pulmonary emboli, but rallied again. We had another big church celebration as for the 90th, but thereafter she stated that it was "OK" to reach 100, but she didn't want to see 101. However, a month later, she found out that our daughter was FINALLY getting around to having a baby, so she said, "Well, I've got to stay around long enough to see what kind of a baby she'll have." We moved with her to Nashville a month before the baby arrived, and she was ecstatic when he arrived--her fourth great grandson! She had entered assisted living after the move, and the next May, the home and we arranged another big celebration and she was honored with a proclamation by the city of Brentwood where the assisted home was located. She rode in on her Hoveround, waving to the crowd like the Queen of England, and all the legislators and others came and shook her hand, kissed her on the cheek, talked with her, and she was in heaven! There were three more wonderful celebrations until three months after the 104th she finally gave up the ghost. What a fabulous life she lived--raising us alone since 1945, always instilling in us the need for commitment, doing well for ourselves and good for others, etc. When she passed, we had no memorial service--just a good concise obituary detailing her life, interests, and experiences during a life which started when Teddy Roosevelt was still President, and ended just before her second chance to vote again for Barak Obama, which would have been her 21st time to vote for President. She'd seen Halley's comet with her dad when two, and once again in the 80's, seen the development of the airplane clear through to the moon landing, etc.--an amazing century. She passed away in 2012. I miss her daily...
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CaregiverL Jul 20, 2019
You might think about making this into a movie 🎥 , Susie
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My dad passed away recently and we received many letters from students of his, who took his classes 40 or 50 years ago and said they were deeply affected by his warmth and passion as a professor. My dad, and a lot of old people, struggle with feeling unwanted and forgotten, so I wished he had gotten all those messages while he was still alive. Maybe for your dad’s birthday you can try to find some of those people who he impacted in his life to share how much they think of him, whether old friends, colleagues, employers, or anyone who might have something unique to contribute about how much he meant to them, through a letter or a quick visit. Best to you and happy birthday to your dad.
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gdaughter Jul 20, 2019
I think it would depend on how much festivity the celebrant wants to have. But related to what you posted, my dad turned 100, a couple years ago. HE wanted a big party, and all the family from out of state came as well as neighbors he is friendly with, friends etc. In each invite I had encouraged people to send an enclosed "wish" card, or share a memory, send a picture etc. My goal was to put all of this in a scrap/memory book and have it done by the next month, for Father's Day. A goal not met...nor the next year...I was blessed with this "grace" period of his longevity and vitality! But this year I was determined! And after a marathon, at 10:30 PM on Father's Day evening...about 5 minutes after he went to bed...I finished it! But he was very appreciative of it the next day! And, I also included what I found from his 90th celebration as well!
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Not knowing what he enjoys makes it challenging.

I would acknowledge the wedding anniversary as well as his birthday. Gone but not forgotten and loved still.

He will probably be a bit sad, 1st everything is so difficult.

Would he prefer a small group in an environment where he could shed tears if needed or does he enjoy big boisterous crowds that will divert his grief.

I think giving them special food that they love and don't get is important and having people that will make a fuss about him, even if it is only your husband and yourself.

My dad always loved to take a drive, so we would pick a location that was at least an hour drive away, and if possible we could come home a different way. Simple, no stress and created a sense of peace for him. I think it is all about the time you give that makes them feel special.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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The ALF usually has a party room you can reserve for some family & friends...bring in some food he likes & of course play some music 🎶🎉🎊🎼
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Jneeley Jul 20, 2019
My thoughts exactly. Party City does huge helium balloon numbers for the birthday. And if you think it won’t be too hard on him, arrange to have select photos or scrapbooks with his wife or them as a couple and take a moment to honor the anniversary part of it. Don’t forget the tissues! Or if they had a particular way of holding that celebration (formal dinner, silly cards, whatever) honor that in some way so it feels like she’s being honored, too.
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Prior to Mom's 90th, I sent out messages to friends and family (email and Facebook) to ask them to send her cards and messages to celebrate. She was in MC and was too confused to go out to lunch so we brought the party to her - cake, flowers, balloons, etc. She didn't remember that it was her birthday or even who all the gifts and cards were from, but she loved being fussed over and ate it up!
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Reply to TiredSue
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So it's probably too late now, but one idea we did for my mom was to give her 80 gifts. I know it sounds crazy, but it's easier to do than you think.

Tons of fun stuff at the dollar store: bubbles, balloons, coloring books, candy, magnifying glasses, something for his pet (if he has one). I asked friends and family for any little stuff they had that might be fun and giftable. At drug store you could get lotions, car magazines, lip balm, foot cream, etc. At grocery store: favorite drink, favorite foods, fruits, meats, cookies, etc. It's a bit of a job, but it's a blast when you see their eyes light up when 80 gifts are piled in front of them.

If you had more time, you could hit thrift stores too. You can find some really nice items for less than $5.
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Isthisrealyreal Jul 20, 2019
That is a great idea laughlin.
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My late MIL turned 90 in March of 1999. We took her to a very nice restaurant in NYC. We all enjoyed it but she didn't that much. The service was too slow etc. This was not the nature of her personality some years earlier. She passed in November of that year,39 years later on the same day she had lost her husband. My point is yes it is nice to celebrate the occasion but the individual may not be able to appreciate the efforts. I would go ahead and do something but perhaps realize that the expectations may not match the efforts.
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Reply to Riverdale
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I vote for trying to contact former students and other people your loved one has helped. I'm not yet 90, but I asked that my "special birthday" be 75 instead of 80 and my children made a book for me (like you can order from one of those on-line photo places) and collected photos and nice writings from people I knew. (They thought I might regret my choice when I turned 80 but I DEFINITELY did not regret it and in the meantime have added to the book special greetings or acknowledgments I received during my life and a few special cards from my 80th. To those of you with someone approaching a "special" birthday, ask them what celebrations others have had... you're likely to find out what they DON'T want. I think most old people just want their family around and to have their attention and to have them listen patiently and with smiles to those old stories we tell over and over again.
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