Wisdom from our elders
Family wants to celebrate Father’s Day with Dad, but everyone can’t be there
Dear GrandPad: Father’s Day is coming and some of the family will be with our 83-year-old dad for the day. He’s widowed and recently had a stroke, but he still lives at home. Those of us who can be with him are planning on a Zoom call with the scattered family members so that they can join Dad electronically. We’ve ordered a flowering plant and will make him a special meal since he doesn’t want to go out. What else can we do? Between losing mom and our worry about Dad’s heart problems, we’re extra motivated to make a big deal out of this day. – LH
Dear LH: You and your siblings have done a great job with planning so your goal of making this day extra special is certain to succeed. We’re cheering you for being such a thoughtful family.
What more can you do? If he loves sitting around chatting, then that’s what he needs more than anything. The joy of having his family around for the day may be enough. It’s possible, though, that because of his stroke he may have trouble keeping up with group conversations, or he could have speech difficulties so extensive conversations could be tiring. In that case, consider playing board games or streaming an old movie or TV series that he’d enjoy. These activities can provide him with your company without demanding too much from him.
Think about Father’s Day cards, as well, because they will remain with him as physical reminders of the celebration. Perhaps the out-of-town people could send cards beforehand to one of you who will attend and then everyone could enjoy seeing your dad opening the cards during the Zoom call. He’d also have a chance to thank people which would make him feel good.
Buying him a GrandPad for Father’s Day could make the day extra special, too. Set-up just takes minutes, but since it’s a gift, you might want to have the tablet sent to the person who will be the administrator. By doing that, the tablet can be ready to go when your dad sees it. He’ll be able to view family pictures that you’ve uploaded and make video calls to family and friends with ease. If he likes games, the memory game is a hit with many older adults, as are card games, word search, and crosswords.
Those who attend could give him his GrandPad before the Zoom call and then he could use it to connect to Zoom so he will know how easy that will be in the future. Another option would be to present it to him during the call. Then the whole family could see him react as you show him the radio stations, music choices, quick dictionary, and encyclopedia access.
Either way, introducing him to the features on his GrandPad during the visit will make time fly. Having this tablet is bound to make his life more enjoyable going forward. Wish him a happy Father’s Day for us!