One of the things that we’re looking forward to now that things are opening up fully is going back to taking more days out as a family. Both of our Mums also love to spend time with the kids and come along on days out as much as they can, work permitting. Something that I’ve been thinking about lately is taking my elderly Nan with us as well. She’s 86 and struggles with mobility, but she’s lucky enough to have my sister caring for her, despite the fact that she’s also disabled herself.
According to Age Co Mobility, there are still strides to be made when it comes to many UK tourist attractions and making them accessible to the elderly and people with mobility issues. Taking all of this into account, I’ve been reading up on the accessibility issues surrounding days out and trying to see what we can do to make our lives easier if we plan a multi-generational trip. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:
Research Your Days Out in Advance
It’s incredibly important to conduct research before you plan your trip. You need to choose a destination that is conducive to your elderly relative’s medical conditions. If they use a wheelchair, like the ones from Mobility Medical Supply, you need to ensure that the city you’re visiting and the tourist attractions they offer are wheelchair accessible. If they have a heart condition, a city that requires a lot of walking may not be the best idea. Ease of access to medical care, amenities, and interpreters may be necessary when you plan a longer break, as well.
Consider the Terrain
What might feel like an easy place for us to walk around can be much harder for those who are little less steady on their feet and who need to watch where they put every foot step. What we think of as an easy pavement to walk along for hours on a fun shopping trip can swiftly become hard work when you are worried about turning an ankle with each step. The same is true for walks on paths and tracks, or down to beaches and it should be remembered that it can be very tiring so elderly relatives might not be able to walk as far as you might expect
Build In Breaks and Have a Flexible Schedule
When you’re out and about with your older adult, the need for extra stops or breaks may come up suddenly. That’s why a rigid schedule isn’t recommended. It can add unnecessary stress and frustration for both of you. Instead, plan a few breaks ahead of time and leave time for additional unplanned stops. That gives flexibility and helps keep your older adult from getting overtired.
Consider Bringing a Wheelchair
Some elderly people may not require a wheelchair daily, but mobility and stamina may become an issue when walking across an airport or spending long days shopping and sightseeing. Consider renting or borrowing a wheelchair for the trip. Most airports offer complimentary wheelchairs for travellers with limited mobility. With a wheelchair your parents or grandparents can still enjoy the trip without worrying about getting hurt or becoming too tired.
Bring Snacks and Research Food Options
Older people often have special dietary needs, (for instance, my Nan has diverticulitis, which means there are a lot of things that she cannot eat) and not every restaurant will cater to these needs. Do some advanced research. Check out the restaurants at your destinations and even those along the way if you plan to drive, and see which ones are suitable for your grandparent’s needs. Also pack some healthy snacks and water for your loved one.