For most of us, Father’s Day conjures up two distinct sets of feelings. If we’re fortunate, the day provides the backdrop to consider how dear old Dad has had a positive impact on our lives. Early in life, dads are good at teaching us to ride our bikes and to catch a trout.
Later, the lessons become more profound. Their example can teach us about things like self-sacrifice, generosity, and morality.
However, those warm fuzzies can rather quickly morph into feelings of sheer panic—especially if your dad isn’t quick to divulge what he’d like, or if you’re unfortunate enough to hear the dreaded, “I don’t need anything.” How do you decide what to give one of the most significant individuals in your life, especially if the day is approaching more quickly than you’d like?
Well, have no fear. Because we’ve done the hard thinking for you and curated a list of 5 things that will hit the mark for a variety of elderly dads.
An Adventure for the Explorer Dad
Sometimes, when Dad says he doesn’t want anything, what he would like is a gift in the form of quality time. Time spent together can create an impact in the life of an elderly father that a physical gift never could. In that spirit, consider taking your dad for a sailing trip.
As the outdoor experts at Hansen Surf note, “There’s probably a small part of your dad that thinks he is a character from a Hemingway novel, so throw him out into big blue and see if he has his sea legs.”
Whether you live near the ocean or a lake, renting a boat is a worthwhile way to get him feeling excited to be outside without completely diminishing his energy. Plus, it can create the perfect backdrop to get the whole family exciting about celebrating him. What kid (or kid at heart) doesn’t want to spend a day sailing?
Homemade Beverages for the Foodie Dad
If you have the dad whose love for food transcends the typical, then this just might be the gift for him. Giving food as a gift can be tricky. Gift cards to restaurants can seem impersonal. Fudge is overrated. No one’s banana bread is as delicious as your mom’s.
But a homemade beverage is quirky and fun, and most importantly, it’s thoughtful. Not only because it’s a component of a meal that a foodie is most likely to recognize often doesn’t get the attention it deserves, but also because you can tailor it to exactly what he loves.
Soda: For an elderly parent, a homemade soda will likely bring up nostalgic memories of the corner store down the street from his childhood home.
Cider: Cider is relatively quick and easy to make, and best of all, it’s a crowd-pleaser.
For maximum wow-factor, make your own label full of personal touches. Doing so will ensure that he’ll have a keepsake long after the contents of the bottle are gone.
A Garden for the Green Thumb Dad
Your older dad may be in varying degrees of physical health, and the great thing about this gift is that it suits those who have worked the land in a variety of contexts, whether as a farmer, a landscaper, or a gardener. Plus, it also can be personalized to a specific activity level that suits him.
If he’s not active, buy him potted plants. The great thing about plants is that they can be used to mark so many meaningful things. Did he have a dog named Fern? Did he grow lavender? Does he love the smell of Jasmine or the color violet? Even a simple pot or flower box can become more than just a plant.
If he is still active, start a garden with him. A garden can accomplish so many things. It’s a gift for the elderly that can promote mental health, and it can become a meeting place for multiple generations to connect. Wherever you choose to place it, consider purchasing the materials to start a manageable-sized garden, and then get to work together.
Remember when gardening with your older dad to consider how you can best keep him safe and healthy. A few thoughtful planning moves, and you’re sure to have a gift that will be meaningful and enjoyable for you both well into the future.
A Ring for the Best-Dressed Dad
We’ve all seen the jokes about the dad in his white New Balance sneakers and his jorts, but some of us can’t actually relate to that. While it makes for good comic relief, it sometimes doesn’t reflect reality. For some of us, the truth is that our father’s style has become far more tasteful than our own.
These are the dads who are able to pull off what others can’t. Enter: a simple but classy black diamond ring.
Jeweler for Tungsten Rings & Co., Zack Mason writes, “A black diamond is the answer when you are looking for a style that is incredibly mysterious.”
If your elderly father has an eye for timeless style, this is the gift that will impress and also last. He’ll be able to tell immediately that you took the time and thought to get him something likely unlike anything else he has in his wardrobe.
A Photo Printer for the Sentimental Dad
Gifts for older dads can be hard because they’ve had a long time to accumulate things. A lot of them, even those in nursing homes, have spaces filled with the things that a life ends up being made of. However, for those who are parented by a sentimentalist at heart, the gifts that often mean the most are those with the most meaning connected to them. Often, for the elderly, that comes in the form of photographs.
We’ve mentioned before when overviewing gift-buying for the elderly, if you have a parent who loves pictures, “Streamline the process with a photo printer.” That way, Dad can skip the computer-related steps of printing from a computer and can print photos right from his camera.
The point of gift-giving is rarely the gift itself. The gift is a means to an end. It’s how we can demonstrate that we’ve taken the time and energy to know someone and to invest in their happiness. The right gift given on Father’s Day is a physical representation of an internal truth.
Good fathers, especially those who are older and have done a lot of good parenting, can’t be repaid. There’s no gift guide that will even out the scales, but everyone has the ability to give a meaningful gift that will communicate that you recognize the significance of your father’s role in your life.