What Does Dad Really Need?

 

 

 

By SCOTT GREENBERG

As Father’s Day approaches the question always arises: What to get a man who has everything? I know my daughters go through this exercise every year and no doubt you may too.

I usually request a cute 30-year old which makes everyone laugh but maybe that’s not a bad idea after all. If your father is of advanced age and the infirmities of this stage of life are starting to take their toll, consider giving him the gift of a regular companion.

Of course, I’m talking about the kind of person that will assist him with activities such as driving, errand-running, shopping, meal preparation, personal hygiene and doctor appointments. Whether they are 20, 30 or 60 doesn’t matter as long as they are reliable, credentialed, professional, trustworthy and have the personality and training to do the job.

If your dad is like most dads, he is fiercely independent, rigid in his opinions and stuck in a routine. He may not want to admit that most of his friends have moved into a senior living community or passed away. He may not want to face
the fact he is becoming more isolated and, at the same time, less capable.

And as much as you want to be there for him, you have a life too.

You love him and want him to be happy, so how do you approach the subject?

I always start with reminding people that getting help is not the end of one’s independence but rather the beginning of the restoration of their independence. When people socialize and exercise more, eat better, get out and experience all life still has to offer, their spirits improve and soon their health does too.

It’s quite possible that when you mention the idea, Dad will say, “I don’t want any help; I don’t need any help. I’m fine and I can do it myself.” But deep inside
you know that providing him with some assistance and companionship will give you both precious peace of mind.

In my experience, I can say with absolute certainty that after an initial period of resistance, Dad’s attitude will migrate from reluctance to thanks to excitement and anticipation.

So, if you want to do something really great for Dad this year and give him the best gift ever – give him his life back.

Scott Greenberg is a senior advocate, radio host and author of
Oh My God, I’m Getting Older and So Is My Mom (Amazon.com).

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