Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Aging Parents: Father's Day Gift Ideas for Older Fathers and Grandfathers

June 20th Marks the 100th Birthday of Father's Day
Its history is interesting which is why I've provided the above link to what I think is the most comprehensive, accurate account. However another site offers close to a primary source historical account (it's short) provided by the great-granddaughter of William Jackson Smart, the widowed father who inspired the idea for Father's Day. The commercialization, of course, has come later; but celebrating fathers has deep roots--going back to the original idea in 1909 and the first celebration in Spokane, Washington in 1910.

Noncommercial tops the list.

  • Being able to do something with their child(ren)/their family. Some say it really doesn't matter "what," it's just good to be together. (And this doesn't differ from what most mothers want for Mother's Day.) Easier to do when children live near. Ideas for being together are only limited by our imagination. We go to them; they come to us. We do something special based on their interests (day trip, ballgame, picnic etc); they come over and "it's just good to be together" (and usually includes a meal).
Aging, old and very elderly parents like to reminisce with family who share common memories. One nephew, whose father has died, invites his 90-something-year-old uncle and wife to his apartment for dinner in June each year. They talk about old times, the uncle shares his remembrances and loves the evening.
  • Being able to do whatever they want with their child(ren) on a given day. In other words, an IOU for a day and doings of their choice.
on the other hand--
  • To get a nice card, with a nice sentiment, and be left alone (or with only his wife) is the wish of one aging father who see his children daily or almost daily has a need to "carve out time for himself."
Of course, celebrating Father's Day (as well as Mother's day) is especially meaningful when far-away-living children can participate; but that's often not possible. A Father's Day card, with a calendar page enclosed marking the date with plans to be together at a later time or enclosing tickets for something to do together at a later time, has both immediate and long-lasting value. And sometimes we just hit it right and that big effort becomes a cherished memory.

"Dad was beginning to have problems. I think he knew it.
He wanted one more opportunity for a fishing trip...just the two of us.
And he phoned me here in the East and asked if I could come out West so we could go fishing together. It was his last fishing trip. It was like old times."


While some older fathers are clueless about technology, deep down some may be curious. And when we think about it, adding new technology to their lives would help them age well--or better. The simplicity or complexity depends, of course, on an ability to learn--regardless of age.
  • One grandchild who thought grandpa would like a computer has written simple instructions beginning with turning on/off the computer, and accessing, writing and sending emails. The instructions are very limited and simple. Grandpa's new computer--a gift from the family--comes with beginner's lessons from the grandchild, (using the little, hand-made, newly-created, simple instruction booklet).
  • An adult son has downloaded his elderly father's favorite music to an iPod and showed him how to use it. His father loves music, but doesn't "do" technology because he's in his nineties.
  • An IOU from a child or grandchild to come over and help with any technological problems (reprogramming the coffee maker, "fixing" the computer etc.) may be welcomed. Or we could substitute: "come over and help with repair problems, gardening or other chores."
Saturday's post will highlight the practical and the "little luxuries"-- things that contribute to help parents--in this case dads and granddads-- age well.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks a lot dear. My father is too old and I also was looking for the ideas related to fathers day presents. You have done a lot of ease for me.