Celebrating Father’s Day in Assisted LivingCelebrating Father’s Day in assisted living is all about finding which of his favorite activities you can do in assisted living (or on a field trip). You might be surprised how many of dad’s favorite things can be included in assisted living, especially with a little help from the staff.


Food is one of the easiest ways to make any occasion special. You can take dad out to a meal on Father’s Day, or host something at the assisted living community. Make it a potluck and assign one of his favorite dishes to each person who’s coming. That makes it both special and easy to implement because it takes a lot of the burden of hosting off you.

If dad likes to grill, ask the assisted living community if they have a grill you can use to host a BBQ.


Games are always a great way to bring people together. You can bring his favorite games when you visit, and if you’re bringing children who have their own favorite board games, you can include your father or father-in-law by teaching him to play their favorite game, which is a great bonding experience for everyone.


If your loved one enjoys sports, you can enjoy a few drinks and gather everyone around to watch a game with him. Watching a game together is another great way to bond with the people around you, and sometimes the best way to celebrate Father’s Day is just to enjoy some quality time with friends and family.

Depending on how active your loved one is, you might even be able to get him outside to play a few rounds of his favorite game, especially if it’s something like baseball or soccer, which both tend to be low impact.

Field Trip

While assisted living communities are here to help, there are also benefits to leaving every once in a while and seeing a bit of the wider world. It can improve mental stimulation and help them to feel less isolated, so whether you’re just taking your loved one out to lunch, a movie, or a museum (or all three), he can probably benefit from the fresh air and sightseeing.

He Doesn’t Have to Be Happy All Day

While Father’s Day should certainly be a time to celebrate dads and everything they’ve done for us, remembering back to that time can have its painful moments. Many men tend to feel most needed and respected when they’re working and taking care of a family, and the loss of that identity can be painful. If they’ve lost their spouse, or even a child, those memories can be painful as well. They might even be remembering their own father and missing him, so don’t think your loved one has to be happy all day long. We all experience memories differently, so just be there for him no matter what he’s feeling.

No matter how you celebrate Father’s Day this year, just remember that the day is supposed to celebrate him and that he should be allowed to celebrate however he wants. If that means getting together with the kids and grandkids, then bring everyone you can. If he’d prefer a quiet day at home, that’s OK, too, just as long as you find ways to remind him how much he means to you.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites, and we are pet friendly. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Reflections. As Father’s Day approaches I recall an unusual celebration 20+ years ago. We were trying to decide whether to play cards or try out the new horseshoe set we had given dad. Instead, mom suggested we drive to the cemetery to see their headstone that had been recently added to their burial plot!

Taken aback, I asked about their health. My parents responded there were no problems, they were just planning for their later years.Both were oldest children of large farm families that had survived the Great Depression. They were planners and meticulous record-keepers. After retiring at age 70, my father devoted a lot of time to keeping up their home and acreage, managing their investments, gardening, and volunteering alongside my mother who was 7 years younger. My paternal grandfather lived to age 80 but my maternal grandmother was 95 at the time. I assured them that they’d be around for many more years. Chuckling, mom explained that one never knows what life will bring and they were just making plans to make it easier on myself and three sisters. They had witnessed disputes erupting among adult children.

So, off we went.

In the car, I learned that their attorney was drafting four legal documents. Each had a will, a durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions, one for financial decisions as well as a living trust for assets that were not held jointly. Further, I was told who the executors would be and where the documents were kept.

What a GIFT my parents had given my siblings and me, though I did not realize it until 22 years later.

A phone call sent me to my fathers’ bedside following a seizure. It unleashed a 10 month roller coaster ride of hospital stays, doctor and therapy appointments, and even simple home remodeling to accommodate in-home care. My orientation was on the job. I learned about HIPAA (health info privacy), Medicare, supplemental insurance coverage, DNR’s, what medications each parent took and for what condition, not to mention all the financial aspects of their lives.

It became evident that home-care was taking its toll on my mom. She had moved from companion and cook to assisting with bathing, dispensing medicine, doing all laundry, etc.

We quickly visited the residential options in town. Availability, cost, and the needs of two completely different individuals led us to choose a community with a nursing home for dad and an assisted living apartment for mom. They were still under the same roof and could visit anytime without having to get into a car.

Choosing a community in their hometown made it visits by nearby younger siblings and lifelong friends easy while keeping existing their medical and religious relationships. Those factors outweighed any travel inconvenience for my siblings and me.

Dad was heartbroken that he had to leave the farm of his birth and that he and mom would not be sharing the same room. While he missed his homestead, it was just a mile away, so he found reassurance in his weekly rides. I do wish he and my mom had moved to a senior community while they were both healthy so they could have enjoyed all the activities such places offer. Yet, four years after his death at age 94, I know his preparation for the future ensured he could afford his care and leave a legacy to his heirs.

My mom still lives in her assisted living apartment. She misses her life with my dad. Her offspring are grateful to the staff for their attentive care, and other residents who provide much needed socialization. We are approaching her 91st birthday. I’m still astounded by her recollections of life and what I still learn from her.

Vivian Helm

If you have questions about the forms mentioned in this blog feel free to call Greta Sullivan, Executive Director for Stillwater Senior Living (618) 692-2273.

You can also visit http://www.illinois.gov/aging/ProtectionAdvocacy/Pages/Legal-Assistance.aspx