How the Red Hat Society Inspires Women to Age with Joy

The tongue-in-cheek poem, called “Warning,” encourages women to age with joy and a sense of humor. The poem inspired Sue Ellen so much, she bought another red hat for a friend’s 55th birthday — and the sentiment was contagious. Cooper’s friends began requesting red hats for their birthdays, too. On April 25, 1998, Cooper and a group of friends donned their finest red hats and best purple attire for a tea party, and thus, the Red Hat Society was born. 


As this small group of fabulous women hit the streets, their spirit of fun and eye-catching outfits prompted others to ask how they too could join. Today, over 20,000 chapters of the Red Hat Society are inspiring women to age playfully in all 50 states and 30 countries around the world. 


One of these chapters lives right here at Brookdale Palm Beach Gardens, where Red Hatters take the mission of the society to a whole new level. The women of the Red Hat Society are the welcome wagon of the community, gladly inviting anyone seeking friendship, fun and fabulous headwear to join them at their table.

The Red Hat Society

Building Community


The Red Hat Society builds community both at Brookdale and beyond. Though traditionally open to women over 50, the Red Hat Society now welcomes women of all ages to join in on the fun, with those under 50 affectionately dubbed Pink Hatters. Each year, the society holds an international convention where Red Hatters from around the world come together to celebrate, including Exalted Queen Sue Ellen Cooper herself. Each year the convention features theme parties, parades, coronation ceremonies and even a market of artists and vendors. 


Perhaps best of all, The Red Hat Society is giving seniors a way to connect even under social distancing measures. Red Hatters have a vibrant online community, where members can participate in “Virtual Hatting.” Through online forums, Facebook groups and more, women around the world are continuing to come together to make new friendships and spread joy.


Joining the Red Hat Society — or even starting your own chapter — is easy. Simply visit the Red Hat Society website to search for an existing chapter in your area or start your own.

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