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A Group Outing

May 11, 2009
by Kathleen Mears
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It has been a year since I have gone on an activities outing. Since I get to go out on my own, I feel residents who do not should go with activities. But my female resident friend wanted to go on the dollar store outing and I thought going would take my mind off my post surgery recovery.

The van was supposed to start loading at 1 p.m. Since my lunch does not usually arrive until 1 p.m., I requested an early tray. I was surprised to learn that outing participants were not getting early trays. But they did bring my lunch by 12:15 p.m.

I was ready to go at 1 p.m. but there was a holdup because a resident was still eating. So the van was moved from the loading slot and we waited. Some residents were chatting about us running late, and others made an extra trip to the bathroom.

Five female and two male residents went along. Activities made prior arrangements to get money from the personal accounts for their shopping trip.

When they loaded me onto the van, they discovered the wheelchair tie downs were removed when the van was cleaned. Before we could leave they had to be hammered back into place. Two residents had walkers that do not fold, so they were strategically stowed so they would not become projectiles.

It was an overcast, muggy day and quite sultry for May. Since the van's air conditioner was not working, we were lucky the small side windows provided enough ventilation. The activity director and one activity aide went along. Our activity director kidded with the residents to liven things up and get them laughing. I told her that she did her version of stand up sitting down on the van ride.

Along the way, gravel hit the van and they had to pull off the road to check it. But luckily there was no damage and we proceeded on.

Since there was no handicapped van parking close to the dollar store and most of the residents walk, we parked a couple of aisles away. I noticed the store had an early spring feeling of stuffiness as the residents fanned out in different directions. I tried to help my friend find things she was looking for. But since she is quite independent in her wheelchair, if I am too close I can be a hindrance. So I headed out on my own.

Since I did not see anything that I wanted, I decided to help the other residents locate things. The residents had a great time shopping for personal care items, hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, candy, and snacks. We were there about an hour and everyone had a bag full of goodies.

While the residents were boarding the van, a car drove up and the driver yelled my name. We were pleased to see a nurse who had worked at our facility for many years. We chatted while the rest of the residents got settled.

We were back at the facility by 3:30 p.m. Getting out did help me get my mind off myself and allowed me to see how other residents try to maintain their independence and participate in the little pleasures of life.

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Comments

Hi Kathy - Ralph from Australia again, I had a resident I interviewed tell me if you don't get to go out, the only way you see how your home town has changed is by watching TV - and that probably only works in a big city like Melbourne. Another resident told me the thing she missed most was just window shopping to see what the latest fashions - getting out from time to time is really important, despite all the little 'bumps along the way" - keep writing your blog I enjoy it. Cheers Ralph

Kathy that's true you do need to get out and enjoy life more. You have a great mind and need to keep exploring life to learn each day something new.
that's a great story, and I as well as others love to see you and the residents out enjoying themselves. It put smiles on our faces as well as yours.
It helps to make your day go smoother,and not so boring when you get out every now and then.
thank you great blog as always ausin.

Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

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