This Father’s Day I’m wondering what I can do for my Dad since he has Alzheimer’s. He doesn’t even know who I am when I come to visit and I feel crushed. How can I make this a positive day for both of us?
Lost in Memories
Thanks for the question. This sounds like a very hard day of the year for you, but try to remember that your dad will have his own unique experience regardless of the steps you take to acknowledge him. Depending on the stage of Alzheimer’s he is in, what you do directly with him will really be based on his level of possible interaction.
Try and think back to the days with your dad prior to any Alzheimer’s symptoms and what he really liked to do or experience in those days. If he is unable to listen to stories or go out with you, perhaps in recognition of your father you can go out with your own children or spend time with a friend doing what your dad liked to do – you might garden, go to a market, watch a rodeo, go see a band, plant a tree in his honour, visit with other seniors, volunteer with animals, go fishing, go watch a sports event…etc. Remember your dad for the positive attributes he had and try and share those memories with others if you can.
If your father is in a care facility, spending time speaking with staff or bringing something to acknowledge all of the great support they give your father might be a way to really benefit him in the long run as well. Showing you appreciate his caregivers and what they do can make everyone feel special and recognized for the good work they do. Too often our caregiving staff and healthcare aides go unrecognized. They have our loved ones in their care on a daily basis and really need to hear they make a difference. Caregiving and showing ongoing compassion and support is no easy task, so why not leave something for them like cards, flowers, gifts and whatever items that you might be inspired to give? Little tokens of remembrance can go a long way to brightening up a person’s day. What better time than Father’s Day to demonstrate to others what a great impact your dad still has in your life?
“You are not this body, you are not this mind, you are the Spirit….this is the greatest truth.” Shri Maraji Nirmala Devi