Dad may struggle to remember what’s happening from day to day, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for ways to bring moments of joy to his life.
A great Father’s Day gift can potentially bring him some comfort or joy day after day in memory care.
If you’re struggling to find a good gift that will make Dad’s Father’s Day a little nicer, here are 10 gift ideas for fathers in memory care that might do the trick:
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This is simple, but practical. A sweat suit is comfortable and easy to put on with minimal help, whether Dad’s doing something active or spending the day in.
Board games are a great activity for creating social connections in memory care. While some board games may be too difficult for Dad at this stage, you can buy board games that were designed with people with dementia in mind. These games will keep your dad’s mind stay active, while giving him a reason to stay socially active at the same time.
Chances are, when Dad moved into his memory care residence, he gave up a lot of space. That can be a hard transition for a senior and it can make it difficult to fit photos of all his family members into the room he has. A simple fix for that is buying him a digital photo frame. You can load the frame with a variety of photos that will rotate, so he gets hundreds of photos in one frame this way.
Nature documentaries are good options for entertainment that don’t require keeping up with complicated plots. Nature documentaries often switch between different animals and places, so you don’t have to remember what happened to still appreciate what’s happening on the screen. Dad can enjoy the beauty, bits of information and entertainment without getting too confused.
What do you do if you want your dad to know you’re around and easily reached even when you’re not at the community in person? You can make it much easier for Dad to reach out to you when he wants to talk by buying him a picture phone. You can program the main numbers your dad is likely to call and add in a photo next to the button he should press for each one. That way, he’ll be able to get in touch with everyone closest to him with the simple press of a button.
Everybody loves music, and it is especially impactful for people with dementia, but the technology can be difficult for some to use at this stage. This simple music player is designed specifically for those with dementia. You can load it with music you know Dad likes and all he has to do is lift the handle that says “Lift to Play Music” for the technology to work.
Hopefully, your dad’s memory care residence encourages him to get outside during the day, but it isn’t a habit, you can still help him get some of the benefits of sunlight in his own room. A good SAD lamp can help improve Dad’s mood and help set his internal clock – potentially helping reduce the effects of Sundowners Syndrome. If your dad was ever the type to become depressed or moody during the winter, this does the double duty of helping with seasonal affective disorder.
Photos of family are a nice reminder of the people that love you. For those with dementia, however, it can become increasingly difficult to place the image with the person it represents. One way you can help Dad get more out of the photos you give him is by putting them into a talking photo album. These allow you to record a message on each page of photos, so you and other family members can record reminders of who you are and how much you care about him.
If you know your dad has a favorite meal that he’s unlikely to get in his memory care residence, make it for him. Bring him that casserole he always got seconds (or thirds) of or Mom’s chili. Good food can provide memories of times we’ve had that meal or something similar in the past. Just make sure you stick with a recipe that doesn’t go against any of the dietary recommendations his doctors have made (or experiment with substitutions to make it work).
Dementia can often cause anxiety. If you’ve noticed Dad being noticeably more anxious, or if memory care staff have mentioned him experiencing anxiety, depression or insomnia, one thing you can try out is getting him a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets have a calming effect and are very comfortable. They can help him sleep better and reduce any stress he experiences.
When your dad’s in a memory care residence, it can feel like it’s harder than ever to stay close and connected. These gifts for fathers in memory care can provide opportunities to make your dad’s life in his residence better and offer reminders of the people who are thinking of him every day.
What other gifts for fathers in memory care would you add to this list? What are you planning on getting Dad this Father’s Day? We’d like to hear from you in the comments below.