Father’s Day 2016 is this Sunday, June 19th. It’s a revered holiday for the men we love most but what if Dad’s age is slowing him down a bit or he’s in ill-health? What if he doesn’t want a new tie or set of golf clubs, but instead wants to remain in his beloved place of residence with dignity and honor?
My own father (and mother) are seniors. They still live in their own home up the street from me and I’m blessed to be able to raise my family alongside them. More than 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 each day and the population aged 65 and over is projected to double and reach 83.7 million by 2050. Ninety-five percent of seniors queried about their living situation prefer to stay at home.
Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Head of Care at Honor, the in-home care solution that has taken a completely new approach to helping parents, grandparents, and spouses “age in place” with greater comfort, joy and grace, shares the following seven tips for families looking to give a special gift to the older men in their lives this Father’s Day season:
1. Listen to what Dad really wants to help make his life as full and complete as possible as he ages. Often these things likely don’t include material items, which become less and less important as we age.
2. Just because they get older, doesn’t mean they give up their favorite passions and pastimes. Think of gifts that inspire joy, stir wonderful memories and keep Dad’s zest for life at its fullest! Find ways to get him out of the house and circulating in society with activities and interests that he truly loves. For example, this year as an early Father’s Day gift for my father, we took him to see a New York Yankees game. My father is a former professional baseball player from Cuba and he raised us in New York. We grew up loving baseball and going to baseball games at Yankees stadium. Now that we live in Central Florida, my oldest teen son decided that he would buy my father (his grandfather) tickets to see the Yankees play locally as a Father’s Day present. We all dressed up in our baseball gear and my father was accompanied to one of his favorite pastimes with his daughter and three of his grandsons. Experiencing the game together and his genuine enjoyment was really priceless. If your grandfather or father like cars, airplanes or aviation, take him to a vintage car show or air museum for Father's Day. These outings provide both mental and physical stimulation.
3. Independence and healthy self-reliance, along with love and support, are the key ingredients that help them thrive as humans. There is a time and place for alternative living arrangements, but Dad may do best living in the house he loves with additional help as needed for routine chores and to ensure the house keeps functioning smoothly.
4. Be aware that interests and needs change over the years – tools, techniques and tips that can make life more stress-free for seniors are great gifts and enable those we love most to enjoy the things that matter most (such as quality time with family members and friends).
5. Isolationism is one of the biggest issues for older adults living on their own. The gift of companionship (frequent visits and hugs from the grandkids, support from a housekeeper, or a trusted care professional) can make a world of difference.
6. The loving touch and warmth of a pet is a tremendous salvo for older adults. Consider adopting a calm, older rescue pet (if your parent’s situation enables them to adequately facilitate the care of an animal friend for the foreseeable future).
7. Lastly, if you have a parent or spouse returning home from an extended hospital stay this Father's Day season, take the proper steps to ensure that their living space is easy to negotiate: No clutter in hallways to trip over; well-lit walkways and bathrooms; non-slip surfaces, modified toilet access, if needed; easy meal planning guidance; and support with laundry and household maintenance. Ensuring a suitable living space is a game changer for fast recovery.