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Making Father's Day Special for Your Dad with Dementia During the Pandemic

June 8, 2020
Categories: Holidays | COVID-19

As your loved one’s dementia journey progresses, life events, get-togethers, and celebrations you share with them will change as you adapt these activities to their changing understanding of the world around them as well as their physical abilities. And, in the days of coronavirus and COVID-19, the way you interact with your loved one living in a care community will have to change in different ways – and likely already has. But whatever the future holds, it’s important you continue to honor and celebrate your loved one and all that they have accomplished in their lifetime.

This Father’s Day, Artis Senior Living has a few suggestions for ways you can connect with your loved one, even if it’s from afar. We hope these suggestions help you maintain a sense of connection while bringing a little more joy to your loved one’s day.

Enjoy Quality Time at a Distance

There are a variety of video apps available these days to make connecting with your dad easy even if you can’t be there in person. Whether it’s through Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, or one of the many other video conferencing programs, you and your family can say hello, tell stories, and let your dad know that he is truly loved. Even if he isn’t technologically savvy, most communities have equipment that residents can use and staff who can help them get connected. Artis Senior Living communities are delighted to help you and your dad connect anytime, no matter the occasion.

Make Him a Special Card

One of the greatest gifts you can give a person living with a memory loss illness is the gift of a favorite memory, no matter how fleeting. Family photos are a powerful way to help stir up your loved one’s forgotten memories, and an easy way to share photos is through a personalized handmade card. Invite other family members to join in and select a few favorite family photos from your albums to photocopy. If photos are of an older, smaller style, blow them up a size or two and glue everything to an 8.5x11-inch piece of heavy duty paper or cardboard. Use both sides. If you were with your dad, you could point to people in the pictures and help him remember names and events. Since you can’t be there, use a felt pen to write this info out and draw arrows to people and objects in the photos.

To be on the safe side, even if you live close by, use snail mail to get your card into your father’s hands. Studies have shown that coronavirus doesn’t last long on paper or cardboard, so sending in the mail will mean extra time for the virus to die. You might want to send the card a few days earlier than necessary and let the staff at your dad’s community know it’s coming so they can quarantine it for a couple of days just to be sure.

Honor Him with His Favorite Food

Another way you can help stir up memories is through the power of food! This multisensory experience triggers memories tied to taste, smell, and experience. Plus, eating a special meal you don’t often get to consume is always a treat. This might be something your dad had once a year on his birthday, a dish him and your mom had at their wedding that he always talked about, or something simple like the hot dogs he used to enjoy at the local team’s baseball games. Speak with the staff at your father’s community to see if special arrangements can be made with the kitchen to cook up something special for your dad. At Artis Senior Living communities, we are always happy to take these kinds of requests.

Being the loved one of someone who is living with dementia can be difficult, and the social distancing required by the coronavirus makes it even harder. Artis Senior Living understands these are trying times, and we want to help. For more tips and resources, visit the Artis Senior Living blog.

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