You know what we’re sick of? That Father Time you see every New Year’s Eve. You know what we’re talking about: the cartoonish stereotype sporting a Van Winkle beard, wearily waiting until midnight to turn the the reins over to Baby New Year.
We’re all for the New Year. But we don’t think that’s a good symbol of it. After all, when it comes to New Year’s Eve, the older adults we know aren’t ready to turn anything over, except the calendar. They’re embracing a new year with new possibilities and a sense of adventure. And they’re ready to have fun on the Eve.
In the Bay Area, New Year’s Eve is for everyone. There are activities for children and adults, and especially for older adults. While you may not want to be in a loud dance party in the Mission, there is plenty to do for adults of all mobility and energy levels. New Year’s activities for Bay Area seniors have never been more accepting, or more diverse.
So find out what’s going on, make your plans, and celebrate in the way that makes you happiest. Don’t let people tell you that you have to stop enjoying New Year’s. Even Father Time would rush the dance floor if someone grabbed his hand.
Older Adults and Alcohol: A Few Tips
Now, we don’t want to tell you that you can party like you did when you were 25. In fact, when you were 25 you shouldn’t have been partying like you were 25. But as you get older, it is important to know your limitations. If you are going to celebrate New Year’s Eve in a more, well, traditional manner, that is to say with alcohol, it is important to keep a few things in mind.
- As we age, our body metabolizes alcohol more slowly. So what might have been a slow night 20 years ago could now be overdoing it.
- Stay hydrated! This is always good advice, but it’s especially important when you’re consuming alcohol. Make sure you are drinking several glasses of water for every drink.
- Make sure you maintain balance. It is hard to overstate the danger of falling for older adults, and when you drink you are more susceptible to it (even if you have been doing exercises to strengthen your balance).
- Check your medications. Many meds don’t mix well (or at all) with alcohol. A party isn’t worth skipping your medications, getting sick, or worse.
- Have a designated driver. Or walker. Or anything. Make sure there is someone who can get everyone safely where they need to be.
- Take the weather into account. In San Francisco winters, it can be cold and wet, with steady rain. This makes walking dangerous, and it’s even more dangerous if your immune system has been weakened. Check the weather before finalizing your plans.
Of course, we aren’t encouraging the consumption of alcohol. There are many, many ways to have fun without it, and if it will be dangerous, you need to think twice.
But on New Year’s Eve, the idea of a toast and maybe a few cocktails is part of our culture. So be sure to do so safely, wisely, and within (or below!) your limitations.
But whatever you do, enjoy it. Find something you like and that will make you happy.
The Big Night In The Bay Area
Still undecided about how to spend New Year’s Eve? Here are a few ideas to help you celebrate:
- San Francisco Fireworks Show. Every year, the city puts on one of the nation’s great fireworks displays on the waterfront. They go off at midnight, so if you want to go, make sure you get there early. Some of the prime viewing locations include the Embarcadero between Mission and Folsom,
Yerba Buena Island, and Telegraph Hill.
- Pinball Museum New Year’s Eve. Did you grow up playing pinball? Remember the days playing your friends for the high score, or maybe impressing your first date? Well, you can relive that at the Pacific Pinball Museum New Year’s Eve bash. The museum, in Alameda, offers snacks, a no-host bar, and over 100 quarter-free pinball machines to play from 8:00 til 12:30. Senior tickets are $15.
- 9:00 New Year’s Eve. The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company in Half Moon Bay hosts a family-friendly New Year’s featuring a rock dance band that plays some of your favorite hits. The ball drops at 9, New Year’s on the East Coast, and you can party and still be in bed at a reasonable hour.
- Free San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. Running from 7:30 to 9:30, this show gives you another chance at an early night (or the beginning of a late one). In Berkeley, the end of the year concert features two pieces from Beethoven, Piano Concerto #1 and Symphony #1. A night of beautiful music to see out the year.
- Balkan Bash. Looking for something out of the ordinary? Try the Balkan Bash in Berkeley. Distinctive music, great food, and a family-friendly atmosphere can be yours for $25 dollars. You’ll be dancing to the Gajda before you know it.
- Belle of the Ball Cruise. Three levels of dancing, an open-bar, and best of all, a huge rooftop deck to see the fireworks at midnight. A spectacular view of the Bay, in all its roaring glory, gets you a New Year’s Eve you won’t forget. This is in the pricier range, but the sights and the sounds will be unforgettable.
- New Year’s on the USS Hornet. A very different kind of boat, but an equally memorable and elegant night. The USS Hornet, a San Francisco landmark (on which we’ve encouraged older adults to volunteer), hosts a throwback fundraising gala, a swank WWII-themed event with Big Band sounds from 3 O’Clock Jump, Fred Astaire moves, and optional period attire encouraged. Let’s swing in the New Years.
This is a very small list. There are hundreds of things to do. Most of the above links have other suggestions, but make sure you check out everything going on that day. Here are a few other sources.
So pick what you’d like. Stay healthy, stay safe, but don’t stay within imaginary boundaries. There is no reason to think that celebrating the New Year is only for the young. It’s for everyone to enjoy.
Everyone has a chance to see the fresh pages of the calendar as a blank canvas. Everyone can make important resolutions and see them through. Everyone has a chance to say goodbye to the past year and make the most of the new one. Enjoy it, try something new, and to cover that empty calendar with memories.
Happy New Year!
At Institute on Aging, we work to help older adults age at home by providing them with resources for home care, social programs, and more. Contact us today to learn more.