Father’s Day In Assisted Living: 4 Ways to Say, “Thanks Dad!”

father's dayFinding just the right way to thank your dad for everything he’s done for you over the years is never easy, but it seems like it gets harder as the years go on. Remember when he was happy just to have you draw a picture or make macaroni art for him? Chances are good that those days are long gone, so if your art skills never improved and you’re struggling to come up with ways to show Dad just how much he means to you, we have some suggestions for you.

  • Take a Hike

If your dad likes getting out and about, then make some time to do just that with him on Father’s Day this year. If he’s a nature lover, find some local hiking trails you can explore with him or a natural history museum. If he’s a history buff, see if there are any historical sites nearby you haven’t visited with him yet (or at least haven’t visited recently).

Even just a walk through your local mall or downtown shopping area can be a great way to spend some time with Dad this Father’s Day. You can grab lunch, see a movie, do some shopping, or just watch the people go by.

  • Watch TV

If he’s a sports fan and his favorite sports team happens to be playing that day, just the simple act of watching a game with your father can be incredibly rewarding. If he’s not into sports, bring his favorite movie or some episodes of his favorite TV show so you can all enjoy it together. Alternatively, you can bring a new movie or TV show he hasn’t seen yet, but checks off all the boxes of things he normally likes to watch so you can enjoy it together and introduce him to something new. It also makes for a great conversation starter if you’re looking for something to talk about over a meal.

  • Large Print Playing Cards

If your dad loves playing cards, but his eyesight isn’t what it used to be, a stack of large print playing cards might be just the thing to make his Father’s Day this year. You can help him break in the deck by playing a few games with him on Father’s Day, but it’s also something he can use again and again, either to pass the time by himself or to help him make new friends with some of his fellow residents in assisted living.

  • Get Him His Favorite Foods

Whether it’s a certain homemade meal or a gift certificate to his favorite restaurant, good food is always a great gift. It’s an experience that’s greatly appreciated, and because it’s eaten and then gone, it doesn’t take up much space for the dad who has downsized to a smaller living area.

In addition to taking care of our residents’ mental and physical wellbeing all year long, we’re also available to help their families plan festivities with their loved one throughout the year. Whether you’re planning on taking Dad out for some Father’s Day adventures, or just keeping it chill and staying in, we can help you plan the perfect Father’s Day.

Celebrating Father’s Day in Assisted Living

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 On A Father’s Day Gift

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