Dining Out With Elderly Parents? How Adult Children Can Make The Most Of Each Restaurant Outing
Adult children who spend time with their elderly parents are not only maintaining a strong, loving relationship, they are also positioning themselves to track any changes that may be occurring regarding their parent's physical and mental health, including mobility and cognitive issues. When the visits take place primarily at the parent's home where the surroundings are very familiar, these changes may be difficult to discern. To get elderly parents out of their comfort zone and make it easier to spot changes or issues, adult children may want to consider taking mom and dad out for a restaurant meal on a regular basis. Before setting out, however, you may want to use the following tips to make each restaurant meal with your elderly parents as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
Consider special physical needs
Even though you will be better able to observe your parent's coping skills and any developing health issues better in an unfamiliar situation, it is very important to still make the outing as comfortable as possible for all attendees. If either parent is already dealing with any type of physical limitations or mobility issues, make sure that you choose a restaurant that:
- requires minimal travel
- has excellent access
- offers comfortable seating and room to walk easily between tables
- has comfortable restroom facilities
- allows you to make meal reservations ahead of time to avoid long wait times before being seated
Consider dietary needs and favorite foods
In addition to physical comfort, it is important for your parents to enjoy the meal. To do this, consider any special dietary needs that your parents may have, as well as some of their favorite foods. Call each restaurant well before the visit to check the menu and ensure that special needs can be accommodated.
Consider the date and time
To make each restaurant meal with your parents as enjoyable as possible, take special care when choosing the date and time for each outing. Try to avoid scheduling your visits during the lunch and dinner rushes, as well as holidays or special occasions that are likely to be more crowded. Taking your parents out for a meal in a quiet restaurant, where the staff is not overworked will provide the best service and a more pleasant atmosphere for your meal.
Consider taking reinforcements
If your parents have special needs or you want to make the outing even more special, consider including grandchildren, siblings or some of your parent's friends in some of your outings to a local restaurant. Your parents will enjoy the additional company and you will have someone to assist you in helping your parents to and from the car or the restroom.