How Do I Celebrate Father’s Day if my Dad has Dementia?
June 18th is Father’s Day, a day when fathers are honored and celebrated with special dinners and gifts. If Dad has dementia, it could be challenging to decide how best to spend the day. You know it’s important to continue the lifelong traditions you’ve always held dear, and the gift of your time is the most important thing you can give him. But if you’d like to give him something tangible to open, here are some unique and creative ideas you might not know about – to make your day together a bit more festive.
- Nature DVDs are a great gift for people with memory loss because they don’t have complicated plots to keep track of. You could even find one that’s set in a place he has visited in the past. Maybe he went to Africa, China, or perhaps he was a national park buff.
- Have you ever heard of a “fidget sleeve?” It’s an arm-cuff with an endless variety of textures and attachments that you can find on Amazon or specialty stores. The Fidget Blanket is a more elaborate version of the same concept. A proven way to reduce anxiety, restlessness, and agitation, you can customize them with your Dad’s favorite colors or patterns.
- How about a comfy, colorful sweatsuit? Sweats are everyone’s favorite relaxing clothes, and now there are dementia-friendly ones that have adaptable fasteners. A quick Google search will reveal lots of choices so you can select just the right color and size.
- Board games and puzzles make great gifts. Board games offer your Dad ways to stay socially connected while keeping his mind active. And you can work the puzzles together for a fun way to spend time. Just be sure you choose from dementia-friendly products that are appropriate for where he is in the progression of his illness.
- Large-faced clocks are a nice idea … and there are even ones that speak. I’m amazed at the quantity and quality of dementia-friendly gifts out there.
- Other ideas include digital photo frames that rotate dozens of photos, saving space that big photo albums take up. Weighted blankets provide a calming effect for Dads who have trouble sleeping. And sun lamps, or Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps can help reduce the symptoms of sundowning.
- And last, but certainly not least, is that special meal (one that his community is not likely to serve). A favorite soup or casserole from his childhood, or something from his favorite “guilty pleasure” fast-food place. Like music, good food can also trigger fond, long-buried memories in a way that few other things can.
Visit www.alzstore.com for dozens of other inventive gift ideas. And while you’re there, make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. Supporting the organization working to prevent and cure his illness is one of the best ways to honor your father. Happy Father’s Day. # # #