Getting out on the town to enjoy the sights and sounds can be a wonderful way to raise anyone’s spirits. When it comes your older loved one, an outing with his or her friends or social group can be especially beneficial. Group outings allow them to socialize, stretch their legs, learn about new things, share memories and simply connect with other people. As basic as it may seem to put a successful outing together, keeping the following tips in mind can help you to arrange an experience that is as stress-free as possible:
- Is your destination accessible for everyone?
Ensuring that the establishment you’ll be visiting has accommodations for visitors with a variety of abilities, including those who may have difficulty walking, can make a huge difference, depending on your group’s needs. Even though a number of businesses and restaurants follow the guidelines of the American Disabilities Act, many older establishments do not. Check with the local business before scheduling the outing to find out whether it has accessible ramps, walkways, bathroom stalls and seating. Don’t forget to ask about accessible parking availability, and about how much walking will be required to get from the drop-off location to the entrance.
- Make a reservation if possible; if not, call in advance
If the establishment accepts reservations, be sure to make one. Document the name of the employee with whom you spoke, as well as the time and date. If there’s an issue with the reservation, you will be able to reference this information. You should confirm the reservation a few days in advance of the outing, and make any last-minute requests at that point. If the place you’re going does not accept reservations, it is still important to call the day of the trip to make the staff aware that a large group will be coming, and what your estimated time of arrival is. You may also want to request staff members who are most experienced in working with older adults.
- Search out group and senior discounts
Many museums, sporting venues and theaters offer great group and senior discounts, so check ahead to locate these bargains. It may even be possible at some spots to combine the two discounts. It is also not unusual for local businesses to offer senior days, which can give your group members substantial discounts at thrift stores, buffets, movie theaters and other places. This can take some advance digging on your part, as senior days are not necessarily widely advertised.
- Let your group be a part of the planning process
One of the best ways to get started on planning is to ask your group where they want to go. Taking into account the interests of your loved one and his or her companions can make for a much more successful trip. Have a conversation with everyone at the outset about what places they’d like to explore around town. This takes away the guesswork for you and makes each member of the group a more fundamental part of the experience.