We all know how much we appreciate leaving work or getting out of the house, taking that first breath of fresh air and the feeling of ‘freedom’ as we walk along taking in the sights and sounds of a different view. Think how much more so this must be for our elderly people living in residential homes or their own homes.
Many senior citizens may have a disability or are unsteady on their feet, making a trip outside seem unmanageable on their own. Care home staff may be busy and have little time to spare to take residents outside the premises. Health and Safety concerns may make the task feel just too much to take on. However, with just a little forward planning, many older people could be assisted to take that extra step and open up a new experience that will have vast benefits to both them and also to the people assisting them.
There are many ‘disability friendly’ places that can be accessed with just a small amount of extra planning such as:
- National Trust Properties – many have good wheelchair access (can also loan a manual wheelchair if needed with larger parks having self-drive and also volunteer-driven powered mobility vehicles available). Braille and large print guides are offered at many properties as are induction loops. All details are available on their website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/access for everyone
- The National Gardens Scheme - offers local gardens to visit during the summer months with many having easy access for wheelchair users. Most offer light refreshments but are less likely to offer disabled toilet facilities, however. Full details can be found on each garden on www.ngs.org.uk
- English Heritage – Many of their historic sites have good wheelchair access and facilities. Just go to their website on www.english-heritage.org.uk , click on ‘Wheelchair Access’ to get a listing of all suitable sites in your locality.
- Wildlife Parks – Most have good facilities for disabled visitors and many offer use of a wheelchair. Some have Safari trucks that can accommodate wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
- Beach/Promenade – Many older people will enjoy a simple stroll along a promenade with a nice ice cream. The salty smell of the sea and watching families play on the beach can be a great source of reminiscence.
- Local parks – Your local paper lists a guide to what’s on during the summer months. Many parks have visiting funfairs, dog shows and competitions etc. Many also offer good disabled facilities and some may have nearby tearooms.
Getting there may be the biggest challenge of all. Local taxi firms usually have a taxi with wheelchair access. For group outings, minibuses can be hired from local operators. Trains can offer wheelchair access with a ramp to assist boarding the train itself.
For more help and suggestions why not download the Accessible Britain Guide 2016. This is packed with over 200 inspiring ideas for stress-free trips out. Just go to www.accessibleguide.co.uk