Due to COVID-19, many families will be choosing not to hug or even see dad this year, on Father's Day.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has noted that men over the age of 70 have been the most over-represented group who end up in the hospital with COVID-19 and she's suggested in-person visitations should be limited.
But Homa Abolfathi, a Squamish caregiver to seniors with Home Instead told The Chief there are still a lot of ways to make fathers feel special this June 21, despite COVID-19.
Abolfathi said she has noticed seniors feeling more isolated due to pandemic restrictions and said she can see the pain in some of their eyes.
"Seniors can feel very lonely and the family can feel very guilty that they cannot visit," Abolfathi said, adding she lives far from her father who is in Iran.
"I feel it really strongly when you cannot visit your parents physically because of some obstacle — right now that is COVID-19."
Some suggestions she has are jazzing up the obvious video and phone calls.
"Make sure the grandchildren video with the grandparents and sing a song or dance with them. Visiting with grandparents is always a treat for grandparents and that can be really helpful," she said.
Delivering a father's favourite food or ordering take-out to the doorstep on Father's Day and then eating a meal together over video is another way to make dad feel special.
Decorating in front of the house, such as chalk messages on the driveway or sidewalk or adorning the front door are other ideas, she said.
For long-term care homes window decorations can be lovely, too. Or delivering decorations to the staff, who can then do it for you.
"It really helps the father to see they have not been forgotten."
If the parent has a caregiver, that person can be a good source for families to work through to do some of these things and hopefully take dad for a walk, Abolfathi noted.
If dad still lives in his own home, suggestions include washing his car or mowing the lawn for him as a surprise.
For her own father, Abolfathi has asked his caregiver to help the family by cooking his favourite meal and picking up a cake for him from his children.
They will also have a video chat.
"My kids are going to make him laugh," she said. "My kids are [also] planning to make a funny dance for him and get him up dancing too."
Father's Day is this Sunday.
*Please note, this story has been updated. A sentence was missing from the story when it was first uploaded and has since been added.