It’s so important to spend quality time with our ageing parents. Time certainly waits for no-one and here we are, already two-thirds through 2022 with another Father’s Day just around the corner.

How will you spend Father’s Day with your ageing dad? It’s no longer as simple as handing over a card made at school or buying a gift certificate to his favourite restaurant. What does remain the same as our dads age is the importance of the emotional connection we have with them.

Remember to consider your dad’s physical condition before embarking on anything strenuous. If your father has a chronic medical condition, it might require a mindset shift on your part – make sure the activities you plan are physically manageable.

It’s also a good idea to check with your dad’s medical or allied health team before his big day to be fully aware of his capabilities or limitations.  For dads with limitations, it’s okay to keep it ordinary and consider adapting activities he like to do in the past to the present. Maybe this means ordering takeaway from his favourite restaurant or share an old movie together that he loved to watch.

It’s all about finding ways to celebrate and make the most of your emotional connection this Father’s Day.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Dad’s favourite activity

What was your dad’s favourite activity when he was younger? Was it boating or fishing? Car racing or horseracing? Gardening or landscaping? Football? Maybe it was Lego or a particular genre of movies? Perhaps it was something he did a lot when he was young, but then couldn’t always find time for it as he got older and busier with his family and career.

Taking your dad out for an adventure doing the thing that he always loved to do – even if it’s adapted for his advanced age – will be a memory you’ll both treasure.

If he can’t directly participate, spectating can be just as fun and certainly as interesting. Take him to watch sailing boats in a harbour or go to a sailing regatta. Do some gardening with your dad or take him to the botanic gardens for a tour. Watch a game of footy in his local park or attend a local match. Investigate the Seniors’ movie screenings near you – these have discounted tickets and more seating options for less mobile patrons.

2. Family time in the great outdoors

Many men especially love being outdoors. As we get older, some may find it difficult to spend much time outdoors at all, depending on their circumstances and mobility. Father’s Day can be a great opportunity to enjoy family time outdoors, whether it be a family BBQ with a football or cricket game in a local park, or a gentle flat walk by a river together. You can organise a big family BBQ where everyone brings their own food or a plate to share. Tell your kids to leave their devices at home – your dad will love to watch his grandchildren playing sport! You can hire a walker or a wheelchair if you have to – they’re available at many chemists and hire places.

3. Dad’s favourite meal

Even if your dad isn’t eating as much as he used to, it’s a great idea to entice his appetite with his favourite food or restaurant. If you’re not sure, ask him about his best food memories, and see if you can match his tastes with current local restaurant options. Takeaway is a good option for less mobile dads.


4. Dad’s favourite pub or café

For dads who like a tipple, it might be a good idea to take him to his favourite pub or drinking hole. Perhaps only for one drink! Be especially aware that alcohol can affect an older person’s mobility more than it used to, so don’t overdo it. In fact, some men just like to relive the feeling of sitting in their favourite pub and watching the scenery. It can also be very interesting for them to see how their favourite places have changed – has the pub been renovated or extended? Take him for a walk around it to see how it’s changed. Pubs and bars can be a wonderful and enjoyable trip down memory lane for many dads. If your dad wasn’t or is no longer a drinker, he might like to visit his favourite old café instead.

5. Family drive down memory lane

When you’re out and about for Father’s Day, why not go for a bit of a drive? Take your dad to his old work suburb or the town or suburbs he grew up in. Drive him past his favourite haunts and talk about how they’ve changed. Older people often don’t get out to the places they always used to go – it can be really interesting for them to see and talk about the changes in streetscape, architecture, and even changing demographics. The things you show him can be the subject of many new conversations in the following weeks, and he might even like to try a new café with you, that you see in the area, later.


6. Reading to Dad

Everyone likes to stay abreast of local and international news and events. Try reading the news to your dad, and spark some discussions with him about how things have changed or how different things used to be. Thinking about current and past events can be a great way to keep your dad’s mind active and healthy. If the news doesn’t interest him, you can try discussing current sporting or community events, or even history books. Another good activity for less mobile dads can be card games or board games. Many men loved board games as kids and lost time for them as they got older, but they often enjoy them again in later life.


7. Dad’s favourite music

Sometimes we all forget about our favourite music, and years can pass before we play the tunes we adored when we were younger. Find a recording of the music your dad really loved and play it for him. Sing along if you can –  maybe even dance to it together if your dad is able to. If there’s a style of music your dad loves, like jazz, consider taking him to the local jazz club. Many music clubs have afternoon sessions and special occasions to make it easier for older people to attend. Music brings back so many memories, and it can often be the perfect way for older people to relive good times.


About Home Instead

Home Instead is a specialist, national provider of high quality, relationship-based, in-home care for older Australians. We help with a range of personal and lifestyle needs while providing welcome companionship. Our services include assistance with personal care, light household duties, meal preparation, medication reminders, and transport to appointments, shopping and social outings. We take personal responsibility for providing the best in-home care and support to meet our clients’ needs and are committed to addressing the individual and national challenges of Australia’s ageing population.