Help Parents Age Well–99th Birthday


Sr. Advisor R–98th Birthday

R was 99 last Thursday. Said she didn’t want a party, just a quiet dinner at a favorite restaurant with us. Since R still thinks clearly, she makes her own decisions. My husband (her son) and I respect and are supportive of those decisions and guide our actions accordingly.  Yet my husband was uneasy with the no-party decision.,

After an older relative (mid-80’s) mentioned how disappointed family members were not to be able to celebrate, my husband prevailed upon his mother, including the relative’s disappointment as a persuasive tool.

About a week before her birthday, he emailed family members birthday invitations. Responses came immediately: “We would love to join everyone. It’s not often we get invited to many 99th birthday parties! That’s quite an accomplishment.” “We’ll be happy to be there. Glad she relented!”

R says she’s feeling old–does things more slowly–lacks energy.  She admits she more easily tires now and it gets harder to put herself together to go out.  Three days before her birthday was her 6-month check-up at the doctor’s. Perhaps that was weighing on her mind.

No matter.  The birthday party for 10 family members was perfect. No gifts, just cards. The card signed by the entire staff of the place where we hosted the party was probably R’s most treasured card. They know her and find her amazing (as does everyone, it seems) and she loves eating there. That said, no pictorial remembrance from this party exists, because no one took pictures. But one cousin brought the photo above from last year’s family party when R had the breath to blow out all the candles.

This year, on the other hand, R gave the candle-blowing a try and when she was unsuccessful on the first try, decided someone else should finish that job. And so we did. Energy had slipped from last year to be sure.

*                     *                       *

Yesterday the phone rings. It’s R. She sounds good, like herself again. She begins by telling me she’s “going to be around for another year.” I guess her doctor told her that. She’d just received the doctor’s report. All her tests came back perfect.

We try to help parents age well. We’re supportive; don’t interject our opinion….except in this case. And even in this case, upon examination, my husband was true to his philosophy and didn’t interject his opinion directly. He just quoted a relative’s disappointment and R relented. But had she not relented, we would have done it her way.

Not acquainted with R? Hover over Sr. Advisors tab above, then click R to understand what makes her the impressive person she is.

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