7 Father’s Day Gift Ideas

You can still make Father’s Day special for your dad, even if your annual tradition has been cancelled. With keeping social distancing rules, you can safely visit your dad or you can gift him a special gift.

 

Here are a few ideas on how you can celebrate your dad on Father’s Day!

 

a man playing golf outside

 

1. Enjoy the beautiful weather outside by golfing

Golf courses are now open in the region! Make sure to reserve your tee time by calling your favourite golf course. The trick is to plan ahead!

 

2. Go on a walk

Going one a walk is not only great exercise but also the perfect time to reconnect with your dad. Be sure to be mindful of the warmer weather. It may be best to go on a morning or evening walk when the weather is a bit cooler. 

 

3. Consider gift certificates

The physically demanding activities of home maintenance are likely difficult, so provide your loved one with a gift certificate for regular home maintenance chores such as grass cutting, garden upkeep, window washing, snow shoveling, etc.

 

4. Look into homemaking and household assistance

Household chores can also become quite burdensome. Your loved one will greatly appreciate a gift certificate for housekeeping

 

5. Purchase personal items

Residents in long-term care use their own preferred personal care items such as hand soap, lotion, toothpaste, etc. A care package of your loved one’s favourite items is always appreciated! The scent is strongly linked with memory and emotion; selecting a favourite scent can induce positive memories.

 

6. Get creative and create a fun family photo wall

Photos are one of the ways to personalize your living space, be reminded of your closest friends and family, or commemorate a favourite event. For someone with advanced dementia, adjust their environment to match their internal reality. Have photos to match their strongest memories.  Select pieces that bring comfort or joy and spark a memory. 

 

7. Buy a cozy quilt or a weighted blanket

Having a cozy item such as a small blanket or lap quilt is always comforting. It can be left on the bed or on a chair in your loved one’s room. If your dad has trouble sleeping, you should consider a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are therapeutic by providing deep pressure stimulation to reduce anxiety, relieve pain, improve mood, ease stress, and fight insomnia.

 

Your dad might be feeling isolated during these times so don’t cancel your Father’s Day plans. Instead, make it extra special for him. Comment below and share with us unique gift ideas and how you’re going to celebrate Father’s Day.

 

We hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads, grandfather’s and great grandfathers out there!

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Pet Therapy

What will draw a smile and an “awwwww!” from most people?

 

Puppies!

 

You can count on a puppy to draw a smile from even the most hardened of hearts.  Animals often have an appeal that crosses generations, cultures, languages and social groups in a way that draws people together.

 

someone petting dog

 

Interacting with a dog or cat or any other pet also has the added benefit of being entirely in-the-moment.  Petting a dog does not depend on past memory. It doesn’t require the ability to plan for tomorrow. It is truly in-the-moment.

 

This may be part of the reason that many people with dementia gravitate toward pets and thoroughly enjoy interacting with pets. A dog doesn’t judge.  A dog doesn’t ask difficult questions. A dog isn’t comparing you to how you were yesterday. A dog is just there, in the moment, wagging his tail, utterly delighted to interact with you for this moment.

 

People of all ages and ability levels can benefit from visits with pets. Even if someone cannot adequately care for their own pet, they might appreciate visits from someone else’s pet.

 

Many long term care homes provide occasional pet therapy through volunteers who have trained their animals with St. John’s Ambulance Pet Therapy Program.  These pets are calm and well-behaved and able to cope with all the activity in a long term care home.  Pet therapy is increasingly being used in other settings as well; some airports now have therapy dog stations where you can interact with a friendly dog before flying to help reduce the jitters.

 

Interacting with an animal has been proven to reduce stress and reduce blood pressure in those who love animals.  If someone is coping with a chronic illness or physical condition, interacting with a pet may reduce their stress.  In some studies, interacting with an animal was shown to reduce people’s perceptions of pain. While their physical condition hadn’t changed, their perception of their condition had shifted. 

 

dog with pet therapy vest

 

For those with memory impairment, interacting with a pet allows them to thoroughly enjoy this moment without requiring memory.  They may talk to the dog knowing that the dog will not contradict or correct them. They can talk about the dog to everyone else around—commenting on how cute the dog is or how well-behaved the dog is—and it keeps the conversation rooted strongly in the moment.  Impaired cognition is no longer at the centre of the interaction. The person with memory impairment can just enjoy the moment, just like everyone else is also enjoying the moment with the dog.

 

When interacting with an animal is not possible, the next best substitute can be photos of pets or other animals.  Many people find comfort in photos of beloved pets.  In fact, recognition of pets sometimes extends beyond the recognition of people. For someone with advanced dementia, photos of family members may not provide comfort if they cannot recall who the people in the photo are; a photo of a pet may feel more familiar.  Having photos of cute puppies or kittens or any other animal of choice may help to create a welcoming space and induce a smile.

 

If there are elderly animal lovers in your life, look for opportunities to help them engage in that long-standing love of animals.  Bring your own pet to visit when possible; go on outings to a pet store to see the latest litter of kittens; if in retirement living or long term care, prioritize attending Pet Therapy visiting days.  Consider updating the photo selection in your loved one’s home to include favourite pets from years ago, or even just cute photos of animals that will create a sense of comfort.

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