June is the perfect month to celebrate the men in our lives. Not only does this month hold Father’s Day (June 17), but the entire month is designated as Men’s Health Month as used as a time to encourage men to take action on their personal health. At CaringGivers, we have the honor to serve many older men as clients. Thanks to our relationships with the family, we also notice that most family members have difficulties connecting in meaningful ways with their aging father or male loved one.
It is common to struggle to connect with your aging father, due to a variety of reasons. Perhaps your dad has always been a man of few words and this has continued as he ages, or maybe you had a strained relationship with your father and desperately want to build in positive memories as he ages. Or, maybe you are not sure how to start a conversation if your dad has dementia or another medical condition that makes communication more challenging.
Our caregivers have seen it all and are ready to help bridge the gap between you and your father. Here are just a few ways you could connect with your dad. Keep in mind that all fathers are unique which means some of these ideas may flop on your next visit. But, at least you are actively trying! Besides, trying something new may give you a positive result even if you didn’t expect it to. Here’s to building conversation and relationships throughout the month, that will last for years.
Pull down a yearbook
Talking about old memories is an effective way to stimulate conversation for anyone, but especially those with some memory loss. It is called reminiscing, and all you need is the time to start the conversation. Try grabbing one of your dad’s old yearbooks or military photos from the top shelf of the closet. Use it as a tool to start conversations about that time in his life. Ask open ended questions (not ones that can be answered with a simple yes or no) in order to get the conversation going. Once he is talking, let him change topics as he wants to.
Take a drive
Doing something together creates memories and the chance to connect. Consider taking dad for a drive. You can cruise through his old neighborhood or hit up the antique car show happening at the next town over.
For some men, talking is a bit easier when their hands are busy. On your next visit, bring along supplies to work on a project together. You can sand wood if your dad enjoys woodworking, or you can chop greens together (and eat them for dinner). Keep the task easy and frustration-free for both of you, remembering that the end result doesn’t matter. It is all about the moments and conversations that happen in the meantime.
Are you worried that your dad isn’t getting enough socialization when you aren’t visiting? The team at CaringGivers is ready to help. Give us a call for your free, in home consultation to talk more about what is happening with your situation. We are always honored when we have the chance to build a relationship with our clients and family members.