Father’s Day is June 18th, and it’s time to honor our Dads and recognize all that they have done for us. Each family’s tradition is different, yet we’re still left to wonder what are good gifts to celebrate our aging Fathers are? Beyond the gift, the greater constant goal remains the same: showing our fathers love and admiration.
Many people have questions about what to do when a father suffers from dementia. Can the holiday still be celebrated? Will your dad still know it’s Father’s Day? The answer is it doesn’t matter. Any day can be a celebration for someone with dementia and Father’s Day is no different. Celebrating your father whether he is at home or in a long-term care facility has deep meaning and will leave him with a lasting sense of joy.
If your father suffers from dementia, the ways in which you can celebrate Father’s Day will depend upon his physical, mental and emotional status. Dietary concerns will determine the food that can be included in the celebration. Here are some different ways that you can celebrate your father this year taking into account a range of physical and cognitive issues:
Take him out for a ride: This works well for those who have trouble walking. Take Dad on a tour of the town, stopping at monuments and other points of interest. It’s a good time to be a tourist your own hometown. Go to the chamber of commerce beforehand and pick up information on the history of the town. You can be the tour guide.
Go out for ice cream, lemonade or iced coffee: Depending on your father’s dietary limitations, select a fun place to go for takeout. Your father can sit in the car while you get ice cream, iced coffee or even lemonade. Then you can sit and “people watch” or go for a ride.
Make a photo album: If is unwise to take your dad out of his living quarters, then make a photo album for him. Or, you can take existing photo albums and have fun going through them. It is a great conversation starter. It can even help you to carry on a conversation with your father if he is nonverbal as a result of the dementia. Seeing the faces of loved ones is always reassuring and can be a source of happiness.
Record his favorite music: Simple gestures can be powerful and music can deliver great happiness. Record your father’s favorite music on any device and take it to him. Sit with him, listen to the music and see its ability to bring him joy.
Bring the family to him: Father’s Day is a day for gathering together. If you have a traditional BBQ or other family gatherings, carve out time for everyone to visit your Dad together.
Write a story about what he means to you: Take a while to jot down what your father means to you. Put the pages in a 3-ring binder or folder and take it to him. Read the story to him and then leave it in his room. Make the staff aware that it is there. They may want to read it to him and the activities staff will welcome a personalized activity.
Give him your undivided attention: This is perhaps the most important way to celebrate Father’s Day. Just give your dad your undivided attention. Ignore your phone and spend time with him. Tell him how much you love him. Enjoy the moments that you will remember forever.
Have you found interesting ways to celebrate Father’s Day with your Dad, even if he suffers from dementia? If so, we would love to hear from you. If you’re still looking for more ideas for, check out our Father’s Day gift guide.