For many of us, Father’s Day brings memories of a dad who’s no longer with us. But if you’re still able to spend time with your dad – or at least to connect via phone or Skype – this day brings a great reminder that what dad wants most from us is probably not another necktie, tool kit, or battery-powered shoe shining brush. The thing dad probably wants most is us.
Father’s Day Shouldn’t Be the Only Day We Honor Dad
We came across this little article on a blog called Aging Gracefully, and it prompted us to think what suggestions we might be able to put forth here on the AgingOptions blog to help our readers honor their dads and granddads, not just on Father’s Day but much more frequently. As we share some of these thoughts, you may be thinking that you can’t put them into action in your situation because your dad has passed away, or because you and he are estranged. But we want to encourage you to think outside the “Father’s Day Box” just a bit. According to the website of the Institute on Aging, nearly 20 percent of older men in America live alone. Perhaps there’s someone on your street, in your condo, or at your church or synagogue who might appreciate you remembering him, whether he’s your dad or not. If you can’t honor your real dad on Father’s Day, celebrating with a surrogate dad seems like a great idea to us.
Kathryn Eyring is the author of the Aging Gracefully blog. Thinking about Father’s Day, she writes, “We can all be suckers for great marketing, especially items with attractive packaging or special pricing.” But when it comes to honoring dad, “we don’t have to let the powers of marketing get to the wallet for Father’s Day.” While it may be true that mom expects flowers, candy, and a dinner out for Mother’s Day, dads often have far simpler expectations. “Talk to your father openly and you’ll probably find that what he really wants doesn’t come with a price tag,” Eyring suggests. In fact, “dad’s favorite gifts may be simple and free.”
Celebrate Father’s Day with These “Zero-Cost” Ideas
Eyring shares what she calls “seven ideas for good old dad.” The thing we like about this list is that each one involves, not another purchase, but a gift of yourself – your time, your energy and your care. Who doesn’t love a gift like that? Here’s Eyring’s list:
- “If dad doesn’t get out much, invite him to your home for a nice meal.” Sometimes we think a dinner at home has to be fancy, but the odds are most dads would be happier eating homemade meatloaf with the family around the table than going out to a restaurant.
- “If physical limitations prevent dad from getting out much, spend time with him at his home.” This is a great way to visit with dad where he’s most comfortable. It’s also a great learning experience for young children to learn to be respectful of an older person’s surroundings. (This can certainly apply even if dad lives in a retirement home.)
- “If you’re not able to have an in-person visit, hand-written cards or letters are wonderful.” Eyring suggests you share some family memories in a note to dad, then follow up with a phone call. The personal touch always carries emotional weight.
- “Make a list of things you love about dad and send it to him if you can’t be with him in person this year.” We realize time may be working against you on this one, but if dad uses email, you’ll have no problem getting a list to him in time.
- “Is dad struggling to keep up his house, yard, or garden? Tell him you’ll be his worker for a day.” He may be too proud to ask for help on a regular basis, but if you couch your request in the context of a Father’s Day gift, he’ll be more likely to break down and give you a list of chores with which he would really love some help.
- “All parents want to feel respected. One way to help dad feel respected is to ask his opinion on something.” This sounds like a small idea, but we agree completely with Kathryn Eyring that it can be extremely significant. Asking dad what he thinks you should do in a tough or challenging situation is a profound way to show him how much you respect him and value his insight. It’s also a great conversation-starter.
- “Ask [dad] about his past.” Many seniors feel marginalized and begin to wonder if the family still cares about their stories and reminiscences. Asking your father (or any older adult, for that matter) to share memories – about their years in the service, or about their first job, or about how they met their spouse, or the places they’ve lived – can be a wonderful gift. If the stories become repetitive, that’s okay: just listen with interest and good humor. We know many whose fathers have passed on who would give practically anything to have just one more chance at a good long conversation with their dad.
Celebrate Father’s Day with an Invitation to a LifePlanning Seminar
If you’re still searching for gift ideas for Father’s Day, here’s a suggestion: invite dad to join you at an upcoming LifePlanning Seminar with Rajiv Nagaich. Think of it: it’s a fun, entertaining and highly informative way to spend time together, and both you and dad are just about guaranteed to come away armed with a fresh new perspective on the proper approach to comprehensive retirement planning. You’ll have plenty to talk about as you reflect on Rajiv’s unique and powerful LifePlanning strategy in which all the critical elements of retirement living are considered together, not separately. How are your financial plans and your legal protection interconnected? How might your housing choices directly affect your medical coverage and vice versa? How can you make certain your family will support your wishes as you age? A LifePlan answers all these questions and more, helping you ensure that you won’t go broke in retirement, be a burden to your loved ones, or end up in a nursing home against your wishes.
For a complete calendar of free LifePlanning Seminars coming up, visit our Live Events page and register for the date and time of your choice. We’ll look forward to meeting you, your dad, your son, your spouse, and anyone else you feel would benefit from this breakthrough in retirement planning. Happy Father’s Day from AgingOptions – and age on!
(originally reported at https://aginggracefully.tv)