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My parents are both still alive but live 1500 miles away. I do visit as often as I can and the caregivers/ nurses for my mom are constantly in contact if anything happens. (She was moved to the Assisted wing of the complex they were living in (Independent apt). Dad took care of her for many years. He is in independent living still in the same complex and does share meals with mom occasionally. She has dementia that has progressed past the angry disagreeable stage into a more gentle quiet place. Being around her is difficult as she is in her own world and while sometimes talkative is usually just quiet. Dad is still active with golf and cards and his also aging club buddies, most of who have passed on. He plays with all the original bones in his body 9 holes of golf every day if weather allows. His mind seems sharper then my own sometimes! His Mac D is progressing slowly thanks to regular injections and he has found it difficult to drive so is weening himself onto uber and taxis. He is well off thankfully and expenses are not a problem although he does complain about it to me. He couldn't see mom's pills and was definitely caregiver burnout and she was "wandering" off the property so we had to move her for her own safety. She seems fine- we moved her almost 1/1/2 yrs ago. She is 92 and walker trots all over the place although she hasn't figured out where their old apt (and Dad) are within the complex (Which is a good thing). So his sadness is not some big clinical depression because he misses her, but the realization that his "life" is shrinking to those things he can still do. With the Mac D we have gotten him the big reader screens, books on tape, headphones for his TV ( he also has to wear hearing aids) and set the computer screen larger so he can follow the curser, and read his emails. As an independent businessman all his life he recently sold out of everything (2017) he had built in his life so as not to leave a mess for his children, which took away alot of his daily tasks. He went down from 18 holes 2-3 times a week to 9 holes 4 times a week this year so he does love to golf! Just needs a ball spotter to tell him his ball is in the middle of the fairway! He used to go south for winters but since my mom's illness has not been able to do this. Flying alone is also more difficult for him. Does anyone have any uplifting ideas for his birthday I could do or give him?

This would not be easy, but I'll bet it would be cherished:

Make him a book with a chapter for each decade that you knew him (or since he was born, if you have good sources). Put in your memories of him in that decade. First time he took you to the circus, fishing, a trip to a national park, making pizza with him ... whatever good things you remember. Perhaps a summary of big events that decade -- vaccine for polio, man to moon, etc. If possible, illustrate with pictures from that decade.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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How about taking pictures from as way back as possible in his life, up to the present, and converting them on to a DVD disc. They can be added to his favorite music or a special song maybe his wedding song.
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Reply to Pepsee
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I had a lap blanket made for my Mother in Law with Photographs on it from a recent event with family. She LOVES it. Sometimes it's on her lap or draped over the foot of the bed and sometimes she asks for it to be hung on the wall near her bed so she can see it.
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Reply to RaesAuntieP
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I have a couple of 'wacky' ideas. lol
Not sure if they will help, so I will just throw them out there. :)

Local church choir to sing happy birthday and may be a couple of his favourite tunes?
OR
Local veteran band (or if he was in a service contact them) again to play Happy Birthday and a Memorial presentation?
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Reply to BuzzyBee
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Linkabit14, I guess it would depend on the Dad. About 20 years ago, when my Dad was already into his dementia journey and knew it and was depressed about it, I off-handily told him of an discussion I had with a college educated gentleman friend of mine who "thought he was so smart". With an electrical engineering degree, it had only taken my friend a month to figure out how to wire a three way switch in his garage. When my friend was very disappointed I didn't think this was a grand accomplishment, I told him he was just unfortunate that my father had set a standard few men would ever be able to meet. I informed my friend that during my childhood, I had been Daddy's gopher as he designed and re-keyed all the locks in a master system for 270+ buildings across 5 states (each building had its own master, each state had its own master and there was one master that opened everything), overhauled a car engine during a 5 day vacation, remodeled a 100+ year old house doing all the carpentry, plumbing, electrical, masonry and roofing work, and upgraded the well pump. That I was 14 years old before I realized that not every Daddy could fix anything that broke. Daddy had little formal education, but a house full of how to books that he studied often. When I expressed an interest in learning to knit, Daddy came home a couple of days later with knitting needles, yarn and a book on how to knit. He taught me that I could do anything if I was willing to work hard enough for it and learn from books (other people's experience).

Daddy did cry that day - only the third time ever in front of me. Apparently my determination to prove my independence in young adulthood had combined with my Dad's last defeat (when his dementia forced retirement) and conveyed to my father that I valued him less that some of my college professors or co-workers. His knowledge that I didn't even think they were in his league meant the world to him. I would spend the next decade or so telling him how I used what he taught me to accomplish my goals and he never grew tired of it; then his dementia ended all that.

I still believe the greatest gift you can give someone who has grown grandchildren and may be looking death in the eye is a testament that their life mattered, especially to the ones they loved the most.
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Reply to TNtechie
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Milesaway, I know gift ideas become more and more challenging when our parents get older.

Well, my Dad loved wine, we would drink only 4 oz a day, and he preferred the less expensive brands under $10 a bottle. So that made it easy for me, I would shop just price and find bottles of wine that Dad never tried. Thus, this made it so easy in Dad's later years buying him wine... he would say "I'll drink to that" :)

My Dad also had Mac D in one eye but it still made it tiring to read with the better eye. Dad did enjoy getting "Popular Mechanic, and "Popular Science" magazines. Not a subscription, just one of each picked up at the grocery store, that way Dad didn't feel like he had to rush to read the magazine.
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Reply to freqflyer
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I'm in the same boat... answering to get notified of other answers.

So far, Yak Tracks - we live in MN and Dad still prefers to walk outside whenever possible in spite of the weather. About 3 miles a day.

Thank you to all the people who belong to this discussion group. While much of it is very depressing, I have gotten more ideas and assistance from this group than ALL of the doctors and 'specialists' for both of my aging parents. Mom has moderate dimentia... Dad is a little forgetful, but a burned out caregiver. Moving them to assisted living, that has MC apartments in the complex for when the day comes.

Y
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Reply to YsLadyMN
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Write a letter telling him how much he means to you, things he did that taught you life lessons, how you admire the care he provided your mother, etc. Then record it and burn a DVD so he can play it on the computer or TV. Enclose it with a personal treat like Godiva chocolates or homemade cookies.
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Reply to TNtechie
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Many older people feel they have no purpose any more and that nobody wants them. Tell him that you want to know more about your family history and give him the tools he needs to do that. Better yet, have a grandchild or great-grandchild ask. Get him a recording device he can speak into, or send him some kind of journal so that he can record the family history. One of the things I regret is that I did not find out more about the lives of my grandparents and their ancestors when I could have done so. You could even have one of his children or grandchildren interview him on a regular basis and ask him about his life and that of family members before him.
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Reply to OkieGranny
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The best gift would be you. What if you were to just spend the day with him golfing, cards, lunch and whatever else he enjoys. Just make him man of honor for the day. ?
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Reply to smeshque
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