If you have an elderly relative or friend who has a live in care assistant or is cared for full-time by another family member then sooner or later you may be asked to take over to provide them with a respite. Going out for the day gives the homecare assistant the break they need and offers your relative a change from the usual as well improving their mental and physical health. So here we offer a selection of ideas to help you plan the perfect day.
1. Let the train take the strain
If you live near a heritage railway then this can make a perfect outing for the less mobile. Most railways can arrange for assistance and some have carriages adapted for carrying wheelchairs. You can enjoy the delights of the countryside, and usually a visit to the buffet for a light lunch, without needing to be able to walk far.
Places to try: The Bluebell Railway and The North Yorks Moors Railway
2. Canal cruising
Another way to enjoy the countryside without hiking is to hire a canal boat or book onto a narrowboat cruise. Much of the country is near a canal or navigable waterway and there are specialist companies that can offer cruises to wheelchair users or those with limited mobility.
Places to try: National Waterways Museum and The Anderton Boat Lift
3. Visit the National Trust
The National Trust have over 500 properties. Whilst the historic nature of many of the buildings means there is sometimes limited access to upper floors the are committed to providing access to everyone. Many sites offer wheelchair and powered buggy hire, as well as shuttle buggies from the car park to, and around, the site.
Places to try: Lyme Park (famous for its role as Pemberley) which has an accessible route round the house and good gardens or Nostell Priory which offers bookable powered buggies and wheelchairs.
4. Take a walk on the wild side
Zoos and safari parks can be a good option for the less mobile. Zoos tend to have good surfaces between enclosures that make for easy wheelchair pushing and Chester Zoo has a monorail that gives a good view of much of the zoo. Safari parks are also a good choice as you drive around the enclosures instead of walking, and you can usually bypass the monkeys!
Places to try: Chester Zoo and Longleat Safari Park
5. Take in the sea air
A day at the seaside is always a winner. Choose a quieter resort where you can park on the prom and you won’t have far to go, or a busier one for the extra amusements it offers. Some beaches are able to hire out beach wheelchairs, although you might find that short stroll to get some sea air and then afternoon tea in a café is a better option unless the weather is exceptionally mild.
Places to try: Brighton and Hove, Great Yarmouth or Skegness