Years ago I took my mother, who had Parkinson Disease, on many different vacations with my girls Mom loved the beach, spending fun time with the family, and getting out of town with us. We went to Disney World, the beach, multiple family weddings, a cruise, and more. One of the questions I would always look at is if we should take her walker, a manual wheelchair, or even rent a scooter or Power Chair? Knowing which mode of assistance mom was using would effect our plans.
To back up a bit, Parkinson Disease is a neurological disorder. It effects many parts of one’s body, and is sometimes unpredictable. Mom loved to walk, but Parkinson Disease often left her with a jerky gaite, or getting tired very easily. I know a number of other medical conditions in which people can walk for short distances, but it takes a lot of effort. At home mom could get around with a walker and a cane. She was often considered a “slow walker”.
Here are some of the keys to deciding what mode of assistance Mom was going to use…
1. If you are flying to a destination, then call the airlines, and request a wheelchair transfer inside the airport. This is a free service that is helpful, and stress reducing. Also it may mean that the person using the chair, and a helper can board earlier than everyone else.
2. Look at how much walking you may be doing. If you are going to Disney World, Washington DC, or Las Vegas there tends to be a lot of walking involved. Mom did adjust to using a rented scooter in these areas, due to being able to “keep up” with the family, and be mobile without worrying about needing to sit down every few minutes.
3. If you are doing a family reunion at a park or special event location the walker, with a back up wheelchair may be a good choice. Mom loved her independence, so if she felt up to walking a short path, more power to her!
4. Road Trips and City escapes are often best times to use a portable wheelchair, plus walker. The malls, museums, and even theaters often have accommodations for wheelchair users. We also were sure to check ahead of time for special seating arrangements in theaters and dining venues.
5. Cruises are a great time for renting a scooter. Cabins can accommodate regular size scooters and if you need an accessible cabin that is available as well. My mom enjoyed exploring all kinds of areas on her own, and her scooter was a big positive. Scooters can be rented, and delivered directly to your cabin or hotel room. Another hint on a cruise is that when the ship is at port Mom loved hanging back on the ship, catching some rays at a less crowded pool, and taking her time with meals.
We would like to encourage everyone to go out, and explore the world!