Last-minutefilter: Where can I take Mom in Denver for her 96th birthday?
September 14, 2014 7:51 AM   Subscribe

It's today. I know I should have started planning earlier - I was thinking I'd just get her some flowers and a card and take her to brunch, but now I want to make it special. I still have not gotten into the habit of thinking "This may be the last time ..." but it's true. I want her to go back to her independent living facility feeling well fed, well feted, happy to be 96 and loved.

Places I am considering:
The Brown Palace afternoon tea. We've been before and she loved it, but I don't know that they do anything special (like a cupcake with candle?) for birthdays.
White Fence Farm, lunch or dinner. Less elegant, but they definitely cater to her age group, and I've heard birthdays are celebrated with a dessert with sparkler.
Denver Botanical Gardens, lunch at the garden bistro by the waterlily pond; the weather is going to be perfect to eat outdoors.

Difficulties: She has a rolling walker (rollator) that we will take with us. If a lot of walking is involved, we'd have to switch to a wheelchair, which would have to be provided by the venue (Botanical Gardens is in this category).
I have her handicap placard to hang in my car. If I can't park close enough I have to drop her off, park, and come back for her.
She has dementia and her memory is not great. She does best in the mornings and afternoons; by evening she is tired and sometimes sundowns, so dinner, unless it is an early dinner, is not optimal.
She has good days and bad days - I want this to be a GOOD day. Minimal frustration, much tender care, good food, moderate fuss over how awesome it is that she is 96! And I want her to get back in time to tell her friends what a good day she had, which is at least half the enjoyment for her.

posted by caryatid to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: you can bring a candle or sparkler with you and ask someone who works there to have the kitchen staff place it in a dessert if they don't offer that service themselves.

happy birthday to your mom!
posted by nadawi at 8:00 AM on September 14, 2014

Does being around art or listening to music help with her memory? How about the Denver art museum and lunch at Palettes?
posted by brujita at 8:20 AM on September 14, 2014

Best answer: Your idea is perfect. Flowers, a meal in a nice place and your company is all that's important.

Don't go too nuts, she's going to appreciate a day out and your presence.

Happy Birthday to your mom!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:21 AM on September 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I don't know Denver and I certainly do not know your mother, but with my 98 year old great aunt, the meal is not the big deal. She does not eat that much. She likes the pomp and circuses. Spending time with her family at a fancy place with a candle and singing happy birthday is all she wanted the last few years. I think it comforts her to know that people still care and that yer family has some measure of success if they can take her out to a nice lunch. My point is that I am sure your mother will appreciate just spending time with you while you acknowledge her birthday.

Happy Birthday Mrs. caryatid!
posted by 724A at 8:24 AM on September 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Most fancier restaurants will do something special for a birthday, especially if you give them enough notice & are willing to pay a little extra for it. I looked up the Brown Palace and the afternoon tea there sounds perfect. to me. It's a good time of day for her, you know she likes it, the food portions won't be too big. I would just give them a quick phone call to see if they'll do something special for your mums birthday, which I am pretty sure they will, I've found most fancier places are good for catering to things like this if they get enough notice. It looks like they sell teas etc there to take home too, so if your mum likes tea buy her some so she can show it off to all her friends back at the facility, that and a big fancy bunch of flowers to show off.
posted by wwax at 8:36 AM on September 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I think the Brown Palace or the Botanic Gardens is the way to go; White Fence Farms is kitschy fun but everything is served family style and seems to be better in a big group. And the back cafe at the gardens is of course beautiful but very picnic-y; you order at a counter and get a plastic tray - your mom may or may not like that? I'm sure the Brown Palace would do something nice for you if you let them know it's a (96th!) birthday.

Another thought is The House of Commons on Platte; they do a really fun high tea with scones and clotted cream and the whole bit. It's a lot more casual than the BP and can be a little loud/chaotic though, which you might not want?
posted by peachfuzz at 8:51 AM on September 14, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. Botanic Gardens it was, and with the Chihuly exhibit going on, it was fabulous. I took a candle and stuck it in her brownie for lunch, and many surrounding tables kindly sang along to "Happy Birthday."

I am exhausted. They should equip the DBG loaner wheelchairs with mountain bike tires and an electric motor assist for the (slight) uphills.

I also got her orchids and a birthday balloon, so she has something in her room to remind her I didn't forget.
posted by caryatid at 3:43 PM on September 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

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