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Tips for a Successful Outing with Your Elderly or Disabled Loved One

If you've been caring for your elderly or disabled loved one, you know that it’s important for you and for them to get out of the house sometimes. Being in the same environment for days or weeks on end is not healthy for anyone! With some planning in place, an outing can be fun and a welcome distraction from day-to-day routines.

Preparation is Key

An impromptu excursion can go wrong very quickly, so take the time to carefully prepare your outing with an elderly or disabled loved one keeping their needs forefront. Vet the activity you’re planning to be sure that it is suitable for your loved one. During warm weather, a trip to the swimming pool may seem ideal to you, but if the facility isn't designed to address the needs of the elderly or disabled, how much fun will it be for them?

Your destination checklist will depend on your loved one’s condition, but at the minimum should include checking on things like parking availability, wheelchair accessibility, and handicap accessible bathrooms. Before leaving home, make sure that you are prepared for any situation. Carry medications with you even if you plan to be back before the next dosage is required. You could be unexpectedly delayed. Also, be sure to pack snacks for the same reason. Bring along extra clothing in case of an accident or a change in the weather. This may seem like a lot to do for just a trip to the mall or to visit friends, but you’ll be thankful you took the time if the unexpected happens.

More Trouble Than It’s Worth?

Remember that the outing is primarily for your elderly or disabled loved one. You may not get much peace or relaxation during the outing since you will be constantly on the lookout for hazards and potential problems. Your reward will come from seeing a smile on your loved one’s face or at least a sense of contentment.

Try to regularly integrate an outing into your loved one’s routine. The more you do it, the easier the planning process will be. Everyone needs to get out from time to time, including your loved or disabled loved one.