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Check before inviting a resident on an outing

November 17, 2014
by Kathleen Mears
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Last Thursday, my sister took me to lunch and then we did a little shopping. Before she came, I wanted to do my list, get help putting my coupons together and make sure my room was straightened up. Activities had a resident lunch outing scheduled for Friday. On Monday a resident asked if I was going to join them for a Chinese lunch. I told her if I went out with my sister the day before, I did not know if I would be too tired to go the next day. I had already told myself that I did not need to pay for a meal out. While the outing sounded like fun, I knew I could bypass it and be okay.

Usually only two residents in wheelchairs can go. If I sign up that means another resident in a wheelchair will not get to go. Since I get out once in a while, I have empathy for residents in wheelchairs who hardly ever go on outings.

While my aide, Shelley, (pseudonym) was feeding me breakfast Friday morning, she asked if I was going on the outing. I told her I had not reserved a spot. She said a couple of residents had canceled. I asked if the residents were in wheelchairs and she told me they were not. I told her I doubted Activities would let me go. She did not understand why it would be so difficult to accommodate another wheelchair. But I thought, I am not just another wheelchair, I have to be fed.

After breakfast, Shelley said she would ask Activities if I could go along. She thought getting out would do me good and I agreed. I hoped Activities would feel the same way.

Since Shelley was so positive, I had her put makeup on me and make sure I looked better than usual. It is fun when aides are encouraging us and helping us get ready for an outing. Shelley's mood was better and so was mine.

While I was in the bathroom, Shelley talked to a more experienced aide who told her Activities would not let me decide to go at the last minute, because of their rules. When I heard that, I was not pleased.

When the activity assistant passed ice, I asked if they would consider taking me with the lunch group. She said, "We needed to have you on the list by Wednesday." Frequently residents sign up and then have no money to go. Money is not the issue with me, but I was not on the list. The activity director told me they had to follow the rules. So I could not wiggle myself into that day's outing.

Shelley told me she would never talk an outing up to a resident again only to have them be let down. I told her that before she encouraged a resident to go on an outing, to ask Activities if an opening is available. That way, the resident would not be disappointed.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...