When your loved-one has Alzheimer’s or Dementia, holiday get togethers that used to be fun for the family can turn into a challenge to hold it all together. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With Father’s Day coming up, here are some tips that can make celebrating Father’s Day when your father is living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia a little easier on you and him.
Pick The Right Time & Environment
It’s important to do some extra planning to ensure your Dad has a great day. People with Alzheimer’s/Dementia tend to feel more comfortable in environments they are familiar with. Try to stick to going somewhere, your father is already comfortable with. Also, it helps to celebrate during a time when your father is well-rested and fed so he can really enjoy his time.
2. Focus on Making Your Dad Happy
Try not to focus so much on your Dad remembering the significance of the day.
Focus instead on making your Dad happy. Plan activities and gifts that he already likes. Let him have his favorite foods, participate in hobbies he loves, or even opening a colorful present.
3. Keep Expectations Reasonable
If your father is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s/Dementia, it is not uncommon that he may have trouble remembering you or other close family members. While this is definitely hurtful, try not to take it personal and concentrate on the blessing that your dad is still with you. Keep in mind that this holiday may seem like just another day to your dad, but just focus on keeping him company and enjoying your time together.
4. Alter Long-Standing Family Traditions
If you have traditions, like a big family dinner or special outing, try to alter it to something a little smaller or calmer because people with Alzheimer’s/Dementia tend to get confused or scared in noisy and distracting environments. Think of ways to keep the same family traditions and spirits while keeping your father’s traditional routine.
5. Use Memory Aids to Recall the Past
It helps to be able to reminisce about old times with your father. It will take a lot of patience and optimism, but try using old photographs, home videos, or favorite bits of music. This isn’t foolproof. So try not to get frustrated if he doesn’t respond immediately, but it is a good way to connect.