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Make it a Happy Father’s Day

The day is here to honor our dads and recognize all they have done for us.  But, there is more to Father’s Day than finding the Perfect Gift for Dad.  AFC’s mission is to help you achieve another important goal of the day — showering our fathers with love and admiration.

We recognize that challenging questions may arise before special occasions when your father has dementia. For instance, what can I do with (or for) dad?  Is there any point in celebrating him?  Will he even recognize the day is in his honor? 

Yes, you should definitely celebrate Father’s Day with your Dad! It doesn’t matter if he is still living at home independently, moved in with you or lives at a care facility.  Spending time with you father will create a great sense of connection and joy for you both.

One suggestion is to downsize the grandness of your celebration.  It’s important to recognize that the determining factor for your celebration will depend solely upon your father’s stage of dementia. Because each stage is different, you’ll want to create a celebration to match his comfort level — cognitively, physically and emotionally.

Here are some COVID-19 friendly ways you can celebrate dad on Father’s Day and help make the day special for both you and him.

  • Armchair traveling: Use Google Earth to explore your city, surrounding towns, national parks, art museums, your father’s birth city, local parks and any other favorite destinations.
  • Grab some ice cream: With summer around the corner, grabbing some ice cream is a “cool” way to spend time with dad.
  • Put together a photo album: Collect family photographs and make a photo album together. Select pictures of family members, your first family home, or previous family vacations.  Sharing photos is a phenomenal way to reminisce with dad.
  • Listen to his favorite music: It’s been proven that music is an incredibly powerful tool in dementia care. Create a playlist of your dad’s favorite songs and listen to it together.  Patriotic, folk songs and music from the Big Band era are popular with the Greatest Generation.
  • Visit him: Depending on where your dad lives will determine how you gather, but bring the family to him this Father’s Day, following pandemic health guidelines, of course.
  • Write your father a story: Answer these three simple questions: “Why is dad important to me?” “What significance has he had in my life?” and “What is my favorite memory of dad?”  When you gather, read this letter to him.
  • PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY: When you meet up with dad, give him your undivided attention.
  • Have a BBQ: No, dad isn’t cooking today. Let him relax with his favorite drink in hand while you grill up the feast.

Written by Patrick Wallis, MSG Manager of Activities, Alzheimer’s Family Center

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