As Father’s Day approaches, many people with a father who has Alzheimer’s start to wonder whether or not they should celebrate the holiday. It can be slightly difficult to have a traditional Father’s Day when your dad has Alzheimer’s, but the event can still be meaningful for everyone involved. Use the following tips to make the holiday a special time for you and your dad.
1. Pick the Right Time and Environment
To ensure your dad has a great day, you need to do some extra planning. Seniors with Alzheimer’s normally prefer to stick to environments they recognize, so plan things to do in your dad’s home or a favorite region of the community. Time can also greatly affect overall mood. Your celebration may go best if you pick a time when your dad is well rested and well fed.
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2. Focus on Making Your Dad Happy
Just being there and spending time with your dad can be an excellent way to celebrate. To make the day great for your father, try to take special care to plan activities and presents you know he will love. Even if your father does not remember the significance of the day, he may enjoy getting to eat his favorite foods, participate in hobbies he loves, or open a colorful present.
3. Keep Expectations Reasonable
In the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, it is very common to have difficulty remembering even close family members. Having a parent no longer recall who you are can be particularly devastating on a holiday meant to celebrate parenthood. To avoid disappointment, keep in mind that the holiday may seem no different than any other day to your father. Focus on enjoying your dad’s company and appreciating who he has been to you instead of getting upset if he does not remember who you are.
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4. Alter Long-Standing Family Traditions
Many families have Father’s Day traditions like a day at the beach or a big meal. However, keep in mind that your traditions may not necessarily be ideal if your dad has Alzheimer’s. It is generally best to stick to smaller events without a lot of commotion or noise because they can make seniors with Alzheimer’s feel confused or scared. Try to think of ways to keep the spirit of your family traditions while incorporating your father’s usual routines.
5. Use Memory Aids to Recall the Past
If you want to reminisce with your father, you will need a lot of patience, optimism, and some aids to trigger his memory. Old photographs, home videos, and favorite bits of music can all be excellent ways to bring back fond family memories. Keep in mind there is no foolproof way to bring back memories at a certain time, so do not become frustrated if your father fails to respond immediately.
Planning activities for an aging dad with Alzheimer’s can be challenging. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Palm Harbor home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more. Call us at (727) 330-7862 to schedule a free in-home consultation.