Outings with loved ones who have delicate health issues, limited mobility and/or frequent and urgent needs to stop at the restroom can be stressful to say the least. When going out is this hard, we often resort to the easier option of staying home. But getting out and about in the world is what makes your loved one happy and fulfilled. So what can we do? Here are five tips to make trips easier:
1. Have a plan.
The first step to a successful outing is having a plan. Before you leave the house, think through every step of the process, from transportation to the medication doses you may need to take along. What’s your plan B if your loved one becomes too tired, anxious or confused?
2. Check the weather.
This is a simple concept but one that’s too often forgotten. Find out if it’s going to rain. The last thing you want is for your loved one to get wet and catch a cold. What’s the temperature going to be like? If it’ll be 90 degrees outside and you’re going to a picnic, make sure there’s a place where you can seek shelter and cool down. If it’s freezing out, consider preheating the car before the trip and always have a blanket handy.
3. Know where the restrooms are.
If you’re going to a ball game, for example, find out in advance if the restrooms are wheelchair accessible. If you’re only working with Porta Potty’s, you may find yourself in quite a bind. You’ll make it a lot easier on yourself and on your loved one if you check in advance that there’s always an accessible restroom close at hand.
4. Have the right equipment.
If your loved one uses a walker and your outing is going to take several hours, you may want to consider having a folding wheelchair in the car as a back-up if they become too tired. Pack a bag with all the necessities: sunglasses, tissues, hand sanitizer, water and snacks.
5. Give yourself enough time.
It always takes longer than you might expect. Leave the house early. Give yourself a buffer of time, so that if any snafus do occur you won’t find yourself anxiously running late. If you arrive early to an event or an appointment, just sit, relax and spend time with your loved one. This will help keep them calm and worry-free as well.