Written by Active Minds on Tuesday the 7th of June 2016.
It is almost Father’s Day again, but if your Dad is living with dementia then it can be a difficult time of the year. Family traditions may have changed, life becomes even more different every year and it is easy to feel like skipping Father’s Day celebrations. What you do on this day can completely depend on the stage of dementia that your Dad is at, but there are plenty of things that you can do to show him you care about him. Being there on the day and giving your Dad love and affection is a great gift in itself, but by concentrating on the interests your Dad has and the things he can do, you can bring him a day of happiness. At Active Minds, we have put together 5 thoughtful gifts that you can buy your Dad on Father’s Day.
Buying your Dad his favourite album or music from an era that is important to him is a great way to stimulate conversation and his senses. Music can help to create a connection between you and your Dad while it plays, as it might prompt pleasurable memories, you can chat about favourite songs and even have a dance! Buying gifts that are relatable and fit into one of your Dad’s interests can help to affirm his identity and increase his confidence and self-esteem.
Films and DVDS
Getting together with your Dad and watching a film or a favourite DVD can remind him of happy times and places he has been to and enjoyed. There are a whole wealth of options out there and you can now show your Dad old concerts he has been to or theatre performances that have been digitized. Meaningful films can prompt conversation about the past and bring up emotions and feelings that can be explored together.
Putting together photos, tickets, cards and other cherished items in a scrapbook is a way of creating a physical representation of your Dad’s memories and life in one place. When your Dad is feeling confused, needs distractions or is having a down day, having a scrapbook to hand can help to make him enhance his self-worth and remind him about all the people that love him and the things that he has achieved. This is a form of reminiscence therapy and it can help to stimulate cognitive function. Sitting together and looking through a scrapbook can help you to connect with your Dad and have meaningful conversations.
Purchasing a gift for your Dad that helps to stimulate him creatively and provide a therapeutic outlet is a valuable present. Jigsaw puzzles help to keep minds active and are a fun way to pass the time. They are also a social activity and you can complete a jigsaw with your Dad, where you can chat and collaborate in order to reach a common goal. Giving your Dad something to concentrate on can be a welcome distraction for him and stimulate him cognitively.
Bonding over food is a great way to spend Father’s Day with your Dad. It depends on the stage of dementia your Dad is living with because the condition can affect eating, taste and swallowing, but if it is appropriate, eating together can bring comfort and enjoyment. You could go out to a restaurant that means something to him and eat his favourite food or you could stay in and cook him a dish he enjoys. The flavours and tastes can provide sensory stimulation and you can chat about his experiences with food over the years.
Whatever you decide to get for your Dad, being with him on Father’s Day is a way of showing your appreciation and helping him to have a happy day.