Father’s day can cause mixed feelings for those with a dad living with Alzheimer’s. It’s common to experience a sense of loss for the way things used to be and to feel guilty about what we think we should do or how we think we should feel. Celebrating Father’s day reminds you of the father you used to know, but now he forgets your name or even who you are, and that can be heart-breaking.
However this doesn’t mean the day should pass without being recognised, here are some tips and ideas to make the day special. (Don’t forget to take photos and video — as you can sit together and watch these at a later date).
Things to do with your dad who’s living with Alzheimer’s Disease
Gardening is soothing for many of those living with Alzheimer’s and has several mental and physical benefits. It engages the senses providing positive emotions that they may no longer experience regularly.
Those living with Alzheimer’s often are drawn to puzzles. Buy an activity book or a puzzle with larger pieces (to avoid frustration). Why not consider personalising a puzzle? Many companies now can convert your photos to puzzles of various sizes.
Buy a selection of textured paper and brightly coloured art materials – paints/crayons or felt tips. Draw a picture and encourage dad to participate see what he wants to offer in return.
Those with Alzheimer’s often have bursts of energy, and often respond to music. Buy a DVD of dance lessons and move along with them. If dad preferred to watch instead of dancing then buy or download something he used to enjoy.
Download some music which he loved listening to from his past.
Movie night / afternoon
Choose one of his favourite movies which will bring back memories. Don’t expect to sit through the entire movie – however even a few moments of laughter or recognition of a familiar face will be enjoyable.
Make a special meal. Even if his appetite is gone, preparing a special food he used to like, perhaps something he used to like when you were young will bring back memories.
This is something you can do together — especially bread where you can knead and touch.
Alzheimer’s present ideas for your dad on Father’s day
Large wall calendar
Create a large wall calendar full of family photos. There are a number of websites and shops which offer this service and you can create very quickly.
Voice Controlled Alarm Clocks with Reminders
A voice controlled alarm clock provides a recorded message every time your dad wakes up. You can either set up the alarm clock traditionally according to his routine and record in a message which reminds him exactly what to do at that particular time. Enabling him to remember to complete his important tasks even if you are not there to remind him.
Digital calendar clock
Ideal for those living with Alzheimer’s and/or poor eyesight. The time and date appears in large bold letters with a non-glare display and comes in 8 different languages. Extremely handy as they can see the clock from across the room.