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Women over sixty are redefining the concept of “retirement. ” Instead of “aging gracefully, ” more women than ever are starting new businesses, working part-time, volunteering, pursuing creative interests, or otherwise finding new ways to make a contribution to the world. So, if you are planning a retirement party for someone special in your life, it’s important to keep in mind what “retirement” means to them. For most women, celebrating retirement is not about “the end” of their active lives, but, turning the page to a new chapter. If you are planning a retirement party for someone else, take the time to understand her preferences. For example, what position is she retiring from? How many years has she worked there? Who should be invited?

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When and Where? How much will the group want to spend? Who will be in the crowd – all ages, or mostly over-sixty? What kind of hobbies does the retiree enjoy, and what is her sense of humor and personality? Now, get ready to have some fun.

Karaoke can be a fun way to let your inner bohemian out and experience some of your colleagues’ unique talents for singing – or at least have a few good-natured laughs. Go to all the places she loves around her previous office and have a prize at the end. Have memorable ‘souvenirs’ or perhaps an old boss, waiting for her in each location. Form teams for the scavenger hunt to create a sense of teamwork and to serve as an icebreaker among the various people in attendance. If the retiree loves sailing or cruising, you could host a “nautical themed” dinner at a seafood restaurant.

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Or if the retiree loves salsa dancing, you could host the retirement party at a Mexican restaurant and have a mariachi band serenade the crowd. Don’t try to make it too serious. Just have fun and celebrate your friend’s uniqueness. One of the most important aspects of a fun retirement party is to show the retiree just how much she will be missed, and remind her of all of the great contributions she made during her career. Have all the guests send you a written memory, story of a funny work experience and photos for an album.

A Retirement party is an opportunity to hear from old friends and bosses. Don’t limit your attendees to people who can be there in person. This will be a priceless keepsake! Retirement, for most women over sixty, is not “the end. ” It’s an exciting time of opening the door to a new stage of life with new possibilities, and a chance to pursue something that they are passionate about.

Planning a retirement party should reflect the best attributes of the retiree – her creativity, enthusiasm, optimism and resourcefulness – while sending her on the way to her next adventure. Don’t focus just on her previous accomplishments. Talk about what her goals are for the next stage of her life. Then, make sure that you celebrate her future as much as you recognize her past. What are your thoughts on retirement parties?

What was the most fun retirement party you’ve attended? Please join the conversation.

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