What can we do without walking?
September 4, 2011 5:25 PM   Subscribe

How do we entertain visitors when they can't walk far?

My inlaws are visiting, and my father-in-law has limited mobility. We live in a city, and we're accustomed to entertaining people (my parents, siblings, friends) like this: have a meal, do some walking (either around town, in a museum or on a hike), have another meal, etc. This works well for people who *can,* but increasingly we have people in our lives who can't walk that much. We're likely to exhaust the sit-around-talking option quickly, and we don't have a television. Do folks have suggestions for what to do with out of town guests when they can't walk far? Location-specific ideas would be appreciated, too -- we're in Portland, Oregon.
posted by linettasky to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This is why they make boardgames and card games.
posted by royalsong at 5:32 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Driving trips out of Portland? Cards? Scrabble? Games night? Involved prep BBQs? We tend to involve my parents in daily life - laundry, chores, cooking at our house - as we are at theirs. Entertaining is way harder than being, for sure. I'd focus on one well-orchestrated outing a day.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:34 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: How about a trolley tour? They can see the sights without having to do much walking.

Go see a show, see a band... drive out of town, hit a winery...you guys have gorgeous scenery up there, I know I enjoyed just staring out the window on the way to the beach or whatever.

And have you asked your FIL what he'd like to do? Since they're his mobility issues, he's probably the best source for what he can do and what he can't.
posted by Caravantea at 5:39 PM on September 4, 2011

Without knowing much about Portland - in Toronto, with my parents (and in-laws) who have limited mobility, we drop them in front of the restaurant (even if it's three blocks away and we'd normally walk to it) and park, then meet them at the table; I'll drive them back while the others walk home. We've realized they're not interested in small cute stores and shopping or museums any more; but they will happily see a play or show - where we'll drop them at the door, park, and then catch up with them inside.

As far as sitting around and talking, we often do a "show and tell" - where I'll show my dad some cool websites on my laptop (and local news - they're fascinated by things like neighbourhood chat forums and our Yahoo group - it's foreign to them) or my husband will teach him something new to do on his phone; my daughter will bring down her new school clothes and model them; my husband will burn a DVD and play his band's music and show pics on the TV (or laptop); and we take turns talking to them one at a time while another person goes and prepares the next course or tidies after the last one (we spread meals out quite a bit more). We also move to and from the back yard, or invite people like friends and neighbours over to add to the conversations.
posted by peagood at 5:40 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Use taxis.
posted by dougrayrankin at 5:49 PM on September 4, 2011

Boardgames. Charades. If you want to do more preparation, have everybody do a reading of a poem. If you are literature nerds like my family, and have at least a few hams in the group, do "Shakespeare in a Box: King Lear".
posted by benito.strauss at 5:53 PM on September 4, 2011

Thanks to hip hassles I discovered that loads of places will lend out wheelchairs. (Easy to be oblivious to these things, unfortunately...) I did not come across a major museum or gallery here that didn't have them, and so many of them that it was never necessary to call in advance to reserve one, even in peak hours. And! At least one museum here gives the person pushing the wheelchair free admission. They are also available in some shopping places.

The usefulness of that may vary if your FIL is ill at ease with using one, but. I would call around/check web sites beforehand and have the information on hand rather than "Well, we can see where has a chair," as that gets rid of "Oh, I don't want to put anybody to any trouble," if you can just say: Gallery X has wheelchairs and I'll get free admission if I push you in one, so let's hit Gallery X tomorrow afternoon and we can see the Y exhibit.
posted by kmennie at 6:04 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

A lot of cities have shops where you can hire a mobility scooter for a week.

Mobility scooters are great mobility aids, and many people who would not feel comfortable using a wheelchair feel okay about using a mobility scooter.
posted by Year of meteors at 6:18 PM on September 4, 2011

Two options that I found for mobility scooter rental in Portland by googling:



Rent a Mobility Scooter with your Avis Rental Vehicle.

I'm sure there will be many more, this was just a quick search to give you a starting point.

Good luck! ^_^
posted by Year of meteors at 6:24 PM on September 4, 2011

"... we don't have a television. ..."

People with mobility problems like TV, because it keeps them in touch with the world, and entertained, with minimum discomfort. You can probably find older CRT standard NTSC type sets on Craigslist for free, just for picking them up. A month's cable TV trial, with converter box might cost you $30, or perhaps $50 if you include some premium channels/NFL pass/etc.

Really, with football season just under way, and the baseball pennant races coming down to the wire, you're thinking that weaning an elderly American man off TV for a week or so is going to make him anything other than churlish, and possibly serially ashamed of his disability? You can be TV equipped for a week for a couple hours of your time, finding and picking up a free TV, and maybe $50 on your cable account, and you can be TV-free, soon after, for the time it takes to haul the TV to a recycling center (or even out to the curb, if your municipality picks up appliances), and call the cable company to cancel your trial.

Good hosts put themselves in the minds of their guests, and accommodate accordingly, when it is reasonable.
posted by paulsc at 7:58 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Picnic in some of the beautiful public spaces
Riverboat cruise on the Willamette!
Drive around the Gorge/Multnomah Falls
posted by Knowyournuts at 8:11 PM on September 4, 2011

Take a tram tour of the Oregon Gardens in Silverton
Wine tasting

Really, this is the best time of year to get out and do things in our area. They might not miss tv at all.
posted by Knowyournuts at 8:15 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, there's also the Sternwheeler cruise on the Columbia River. Brunch or dinner is served aboard. It's farther away than the Portland Spirit (Willamette criuse) but has great views.
posted by Knowyournuts at 8:36 PM on September 4, 2011

Best answer: Really, this is the best time of year to get out and do things in our area. They might not miss tv at all.

See, for someone with "limited mobility" (and I'm not sure what the OP means by this) it might not be that they love TV so much that they prefer it to getting out and doing things... it sounds like there might be a issue for him in terms of how much energy he has. I don't know the area at all, but maybe, once you have a sense of the things he might enjoy, it'd make sense to provide those options ahead of time so he can choose which ones he'd prefer to expend his limited mobility upon... and be prepared to cheerfully skip plans, once made, if he's not up to them. If you need to hang out at home, that's ok, too - TV is a good idea, so are games, and so is being comfortable with the fact that hanging out and talking might be the best option.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:39 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are great answers, thanks. It's wonderful to have these in my arsenal for my father-in-law and other folks who might visit.

The TV thing is not a big issue -- they're staying at a hotel, and my FIL does sit some activities out in favor of staying there. He also generally prefers to read. I mentioned the TV thing because I know the "family movie" is a normal long-term visit activity -- its what my folks do when we visit them.

Father-in-law walks with a cane and is in chronic pain, which increases if he walks or stands a lot.
posted by linettasky at 8:54 PM on September 4, 2011

I don't know what the costs are like, I think pedicabs might be a fun conveyance. This doesn't really fill in the activity bit, though.
posted by 0bs01337 at 1:12 AM on September 5, 2011

Jet boat tour? We took my mobility-impaired grandma on the one on the Willamette, and I think she got a kick out of it.
posted by emkelley at 4:35 AM on September 5, 2011

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