Celebrating Father’s Day in an Assisted Living Community

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Every year on the third Sunday in June, we celebrate fathers. We pause to thank the dads, grandfathers, and other important men in our lives for all they do for us. When the loved one you are honoring calls an assisted living community home, you might be wondering how to commemorate the day. Gift giving can be especially challenging, as our senior loved ones often seem to have everything they need or want.

The same is true if a father or grandfather has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and lives in the memory care area of an assisted living community. You might feel as if their condition makes celebrations tough or even impossible.

To help you plan a special day for your older family member, we are sharing a few suggestions for you to consider.

Tips for Celebrating Father’s Day in Assisted Living

While your loved one’s personal space, typically an apartment or a suite, may seem too small for a family gathering, know that most communities have areas you can reserve at no cost. Private dining rooms and common areas give you ample space to invite several generations of your family.

You may also be surprised to learn that dining services teams can often help provide food. Or if they can’t, they’ll likely be able to refer you to a catering company nearby that can.

When it comes to finding gifts your senior will enjoy, we have a few ideas:

  • Personalized photo albums: Older adults often appreciate the opportunity to look through family photos and reminisce. Rather than showing digital versions, you can arrange his favorite photos in a personalized album that tells the story of his life and family. It’s a keepsake he can keep on the coffee table and browse every day.
  • Cozy gifts: Because of poor circulation and medication side effects, seniors often feel cold. Your father or grandfather might appreciate a comfortable throw, new pair of flannel-lined slippers or warm lounge pants to relax in.
  • Restaurant gift cards: Assisted living communities frequently arrange resident outings to local restaurants for lunch. You can talk with the community’s life enrichment director to see if any are on the schedule in the months ahead. Then you can purchase gift cards to those restaurants for your loved one to use.
  • Tasty treats: Unless his health requires a special diet, another fun gift idea could be a fruit or chocolate club delivery each month or quarter. A local florist or gourmet grocery store might offer this service. If not, companies like Zingerman’s and Harry & David have unique monthly/quarterly clubs you can explore.
  • Hobby and craft supplies: Stock up on supplies your senior family member needs to enjoy his favorite hobby. Whether he likes bird watching, puzzles, painting, or building models, you can assemble a package of supplies to help him continue indulging his passion.

Finally, what your family elder might like most for Father’s Day is a family outing. Depending on his health and mobility, you may be able to arrange a fishing trip, an intergenerational trip to a baseball game, or an afternoon at a local zoo.

Observing Father’s Day When Your Dad Has Alzheimer’s

One of the best gifts a senior with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia can receive is time with loved ones. Father’s Day is the perfect time to spend quality time engaging in activities that honor your loved one’s unique interests and abilities. Talk with the caregivers at his memory care community to determine what size gathering is best. Too many people might be overwhelming for him.

If your father has trouble communicating, you can still find ways to make the day meaningful. Even if he can’t participate much in the conversation, there are ways to make him feel important:

  • Reminisce: Tell stories you remember from your childhood. Recall the fun times you had together and the moments when he comforted you or made you feel proud. You may discover that long-ago memories are easier for your family member to recount than newer ones.
  • Plan a special activity: The community’s life enrichment team may be able to offer guidance on activities you and your father or grandfather can engage in that will be fun for everyone. Container gardening, music and dancing, a bean bag toss, or bird watching are a few to consider.
  • Share favorite foods: Enjoying a light meal or dessert while reminiscing about foods your father loves is another way to celebrate. You can bring his favorite entrée or just a favorite treat to share.

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