For older fathers, Father’s Day does not just have to be about getting a visit from family members. A bigger gift would be to get out and do a fun, yet safe activity.
Keep in mind that the information contained in this article should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your health care provider for appropriate activities for your loved one. Also, remember that while you’re out with your father to stay mindful of his medication schedule and how that ties into meal schedules.
Many fathers, and mothers for that matter, often say all they want for Father’s Day is to just “be together.” That means an ideal gift is often just a family activity. These activities do not have to be sedentary, but if they are not, make sure you plan for plenty of opportunities for rest along the way.
Here are some examples of outdoor activities that require some exertion without putting too much stress on the body:
- Go to a baseball game. While you and your dad may sit while watching the game, getting to your seats can often be quite a workout. Take into account the walk to and from the stadium, climbing stairs to seats in a larger stadium, and additional work to get to the restrooms or the food line. Thinking about this ahead of time, it’s important to remember that the best seat in the house for dad will be the one with the least amount of stairs – even if it’s in the back right by the elevator.
- Go on a picnic. Once again, this gets your father up and moving, and if you go to a park with a grill, your father can help with the cooking, making him feel more involved. Also, think of bathroom locations when selecting your spot.
- Take a walk through the old neighborhood. As your father ages, he will want to spend time enjoying trips down memory lane. By taking this literal stroll, he can spend time with family and reminisce about the past. This simple activity keeps him healthy both physically and mentally because it uses both the body and mind.
- Play a team game – gently. While an older father can’t run all over the tennis court like he used to, he can still play many games that gets him moving in a safe manner. For a more athletic dad, a slow-pitch softball game, with gentle running of the bases, is one idea. So is a free-throw contest on the basketball court. However, yard games like horseshoes and ring-toss type games may be the perfect energy exertion. The idea is to find something that gets your dad moving without putting too much strain on the body. Also, make sure you take plenty of water breaks. If you only spend 10 minutes actually playing, that’s OK because the intent of spending time together is still a huge gift to your dad.
- Play a board game, card game or assemble a puzzle together. While this isn’t necessarily a physical activity, it allows your dad to exercise his brain and provides an opportunity to socialize. By arranging a time for some team fun, your dad gets to enjoy his family and his mind gets a workout.
If any of these activities seem like too much work for your dad, or you worry they might be too much work, once again, don’t be afraid to contact your father’s doctor to get some advice. While you want to help your dad and make sure he enjoys a healthy and happy Father’s Day, it’s better to be safe than sorry.