For Father’s Day this year, give the senior dad in your life the gift of your time. Your time together is a precious commodity, and it’s likely the gift he wants most. Senior Living Management has a few ideas to help you find the best way to celebrate your dad on his special day – and more regularly incorporate time with him throughout the year.
Connecting with your aging dad through storytelling can help prevent depression and build a deeper bond between the two of you. Since storytelling is often used as a therapy for people with dementia, you can incorporate this age-old tradition into your Father’s Day gift this year. Tell your dad a story, allowing him to interject and add his own information where he can. It’s OK for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia to use their imagination to fill in the gaps. You can use your own pictures to start a story, or try out a free website called TimeSlips, a resource that provides images that encourage storytelling and features other guided activities. This type of interaction can be done anywhere, and the story can be as short or as long as you and your dad want. Just know that as long as he is having fun, you‘re helping him both physically and emotionally.
Bring Visitors to Dad
Seniors have a tendency to isolate themselves as they age. This year, reach out to some of Dad’s friends for a little quality time. The impact of this gift is far reaching. It helps him stay engaged, reminds him that he is loved, and can also trigger his memory. By stimulating his senses, he’ll be reminded about past times with his friends and family. It has been shown that seniors who continue to engage with loved ones keep their brain active and reduce potential health issues. If scheduling proves difficult, replace a one-on-one visit with items like photos, videos, music, or even a special homemade meal that can stimulate Dad’s memory of a particular loved one. You can be certain that you will also walk away with a good feeling that you’ve helped your Dad remember and experience those he loves.
Visiting Old Haunts
Because seniors love to reminisce about their past, taking Dad to a place he frequented as a kid, teenager, or even young adult is the perfect gift to put a spark in his eyes. Pack up the car and take Dad on a trip to his hometown to visit an old restaurant, school, or even sporting facility. This is a good way to prevent loneliness by stimulating his memories and getting him talking about his past. He’ll revel in sharing stories from his childhood and connecting with you on a deeper level. To prepare him, you might consider sharing photos or online visuals of the places you plan to visit.
By making one or all of these activities a regularly scheduled time with Dad, it will help both of you grow. If you’d like to learn more about activities for you and your senior loved one, visit the Senior Living Management blog.