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Thinking ahead. Just wondering how others blessed to have significant events have handled things. A friend just suggested cake and maybe ice cream at home which will put stress on me for set up preparations etc; possibly pizza and cake...Mom is quite functional in numerous ways, and not in many others. When we celebrated her 95th birthday I selected a place that is run by a gourmet chef who has a cooking school. Her restaurant is about 20 minutes away, very small, holding only about 40 guests. They were kind enough to create a limited menu. Mom was very 2 year old and unhappy with every item offered her. She LOVED the dessert. She was a bit clueless, but able to be there. In the end, it was more for Dad to feel he was doing something for her, and we as her daughters as well. She more often than not does not get dressed; she can and does at times, by herself. They go out once or twice a week for meals...to the usual spots most of the time. Panera, Olive Garden, a dive place, a Chinese restaurant. I hate to ignore it, don't want people to feel obligated to gift, and all relatives are out of state. Inviting them will create more chaos for mom to deal with, a concept Dad is not capable of comprehending as he enjoys the out of towners company. It's an expense for them, and is complicated feeling the need to entertain beyond the event time, which we did for dad's 100th birthday. Really, it's more for dad probably because for mom, it's just another day.

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gdaughter, order carry-out from Olive Garden. It can be done either by phone or on-line. In a half hour the order should be ready, and someone would need to go and pick up the items from the restaurant.

My very elderly parents loved having Olive Garden at my house. Restaurants can become overwhelming as we get older... the lines.. the background noise... for my Mom the air condition was always blowing on her so we had to change tables... and not being able to talk to my parents because neither couldn't hear very well in the restaurant. Not to mention getting them in and out of the car twice!!
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Reply to freqflyer
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Your Mom is not going to enjoy this. With her Dementia it will overwhelm her. But its a milestone for Dad.

I would keep it small. I would have dinner served first thing. My Mom was only good for about and hour and she wanted to go home. Have a relative or friend available to take Mom home. Then Dad can enjoy friends and family.

I would suggest no gifts. At their age they really don't need them. Since they do go out, ask for gift cards to their favorite places.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Another option is to have a very small event (cake ice cream) just family and close friends. Then to include all others, you can start now collecting cards mailed in from friends and family all over the world. Well wishes cards and photos of the past and photos of thise friends in the present. I did similar for a parent. I opened all cards as they came in (i asked folks to send them now). Put them on hole punched heavier pieces of paper (card, photo, and cut off the mailing from address on the card so I had current info). As I collected pages I started putting the pages in notebooks that are small to medium size so easy to handle. I put the notebooks out at the party for people to enjoy looking at. My parents looked at those notebooks for years. It was a better memory for them than the party (almost).
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Reply to AlisonTexas
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It's common here to have an open house for big birthdays or anniversaries, generally a 2 hour window of time where well wishers can drop in (or linger) for finger foods and tea. These are often held in a church hall if the recipient isn't living where they have access to a common room, sometimes the guest of honour is ensconced in their favourite chair which the host has arranged to have transported from home.
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Reply to cwillie
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Tough call. I'd consider keeping it very small so as not to overwhelm your mom. While your dad might enjoy a bigger event, seems like the work and money and strain on your mom might not be worth it.
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Reply to againx100
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If it was me doing this, I’d try to break it down into smaller chunks. I’d see if the venue could screen off a smaller area for mother, so that she didn’t see so many people at once and it was all more manageable for her. Then arrange a good place for Dad to sit if he needs to, with chairs so that people can be at his level for chatting. Perhaps a family member could monitor bringing people to him progressively. In fact that would be good for mother as well. I’d try to recruit another family member to take over the ‘need to entertain beyond the event time’ arrangements. That’s a big ask, so it needs to be thought through carefully. And I’d work out some small token gifts that people might like to bring, and a list of donations that people could give instead. It might work best if the ‘small token gifts’ are also suitable for donation to a local charity. If you can give three or four people responsibility for things that are specially helpful, they can be genuinely supportive and you can do the overall monitoring - and perhaps even enjoy yourself as well!
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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