By Bob Gregory
You can start by being thankful that your mother still embraces life and wants to participate in the world around her! So many elderly people have the attitude that a Nursing Home is where they go to wait for the end of life. This may be true in its most literal sense but the quality of life and how one enjoys their time can be completely different. You mother still sees herself as “alive” and wants to continue the experiences she had when she didn’t need a Nursing Home and you need to help her continue that positive attitude. There is an old saying that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to what happens and I think your mother is definitely reacting to her situation in a very positive manner. I have some suggestions that may make you feel more comfortable taking your mother shopping and turning an experience you may dread into something you both can enjoy.
Ideas for taking an elderly parent on an outing:
v First and foremost, make sure your parent is physically and mentally well enough to go on an outing. The will and determination of your parent to go may be overshadowed by their medical ability to leave the facility. Discuss the outing with the caregivers and make sure they are in agreement your parent is capable of handling the planned outing. Also, discuss the duration of the outing and any special needs that you should be aware of during the outing such as medications, special toileting, transportation etc.
|able to carry a wheel chair. |
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
v If your parent is in a wheelchair or needs to carry special medical equipment and you are not prepared to handle the transportation, I suggest contacting a transportation company that specializes in transporting physically challenged individuals. You can meet your parent at the Senior Facility and ride with them to and from the shopping mall. Do some research on the transportation companies available and discuss with them the needs of your parent, the destination and duration of the outing. Some companies will even provide an assistant for the day to help with the chair, equipment etc.
|English: Family Bathroom sign|
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
v Not the same sex as your elderly parent and worried about toileting and changing rooms? This is usually more stressful than another aspect of the outing for most children and their elder parent. If you and your parent are comfortable with the toileting and dressing room, then do the research on stores and restaurants that offer “family” restrooms and dressing rooms. Most major department stores and large chain restaurants now accommodate “families”. A simple phone call to the stores or restaurants you plan to visit will confirm they can or cannot accommodate you and that will give you time to rearrange your outing so there are no surprises. If you or your elderly parent is uncomfortable, then there are alternatives. Simply contact an In Home Healthcare provider for an assistant for the day. These companies can provide just the right type of assistant whether it is for help in the bathroom or changing room or even help administering medication and tending to special medical equipment. There are also Adult Sitters that you can hire for the day to come along to assist. Again, explain the nature of the outing, the needs of your parent and the duration.
Be careful not to plan too much activity for your parent so that the outing does not become a mental or physical setback for them. The outing should be a wonderful experience for you and your parent and you will be surprised at the stories your parent will share with their friends about the day! It’s a great mental boost for someone to feel the freedom of going out on an adventure even if it’s for a short shopping trip. I would suggest you do everything in your power to make the outing happen and try to avoid negative conversations about how much the outing is costing you or how difficult it was to make the arrangements. If you do have to decline the outing due to your parent’s health or the task is more than you can handle or afford, then try and present an alternative such as shopping online with your parent and bringing back outfits for them to try. You can also get permission to bring “take out” food from your parent’s favorite restaurant and make the experience as close to an outing as possible.
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Bob Gregory is an advocate for Seniors and is one of the founders of www.seniorfacilityfinder.com. At SeniorFacilityFinder.com, we are dedicated to helping families get the Elder Care help they need without having to provide their personal information! If find you need an assisted living facility or other type of senior facility, please consider www.seniorfacilityfinder.com