Father’s Day is an important day where we honor our fathers (and/or the father figures in our lives) and recognize them for everything that they have done for us. However, it can be difficult to plan the ideal day for your father, especially if he is living in a personal care/assisted living community.
Buying dad a gift is thoughtful and often a memorable part of Father’s Day, but for many people, the most significant gift you can give on June 21 is your presence. For many seniors, they may not see their families as much as they would like. Visiting him and spending time with him can mean more than any object ever could. Quality family time spent together can be treasured for a lifetime.
However, some people are afraid they won’t know how to make conversation with an elderly person. If you feel this way, it may help to remember that your visit will mean a lot to your loved one and doesn’t have to be lengthy or include non-stop conversation. Most importantly, your visit can be an opportunity for you to bond and create memories together.
If you’re planning a visit, you can lessen your anxious feelings by preparing a list of topics or questions that can help with conversation. Here are a few conversation ideas to get you started:
- Make a Positive Observation –A positive comment or observation can go a long way. This can help to improve everyone’s mood, and may stick with your senior loved one for days. You can comment on their outfit, their mood, their decorations, the weather outside, etc. Making positive comments throughout your conversation can improve your loved one’s mindset and help to generate good feelings.
- Ask Open-Ended Questions –Asking questions that don’t have a right or wrong answer can be a nice, stress-free way to start a discussion. For example, you can ask about your loved one’s favorite food, their favorite movies and TV shows or what makes them happy. Asking an open-ended question can help to break the ice and start a conversation.
- Read Out Loud –Reading to your senior friend or family member can spark new topics and ideas. You can pick a book or article based on your loved one’s interests, read a passage from it and discuss each of your perspectives. For example, if they like (or used to like) to cook, sharing recipes or articles about cooking can be enjoyable for them. For many, reading spiritual passages can be a comforting way to pass the time together, as well.
- Ask for Advice –It’s natural for people to want to help each other and feel useful. If there is any advice that you can ask your loved one for, they may want to provide their opinion, which in turn may help to boost their confidence. If you can think of advice you may need in areas where your loved one has experience, such as raising a family, cooking, cleaning or home repairs, feel free to ask them for their opinion during your visit.
- Share memories from the past.Bring old photo books or meaningful artifacts that you can both reflect on and recall the happiness of those times. Bringing that old scrap-book of pictures from your childhood, or his, can create a good laugh and spark conversation about those memories you may not think to talk about normally.
Visiting elderly loved ones in a senior care community can help them to avoid loneliness, can strengthen bonds and can create memories that last a lifetime.