Tips for my 83 year old Mother in Law?

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by dskib, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. dskib

    dskib DIS Veteran

    Jul 8, 2010
    Hi all!

    I just booked POFQ with free dining for Sept 2011 for my husband's family. There will be 3 of us in our 40s, my DS(3) and my MIL (83)

    I was looking for tips when it comes to bringing seniors to WDW. She's feisty, but she certainly won't be able to walk all day. A scooter is out of the question (she absolutely refuses and won't change her mind), so we'll be renting a wheelchair for her while we are in the parks.

    So I was just hoping that someone could share their experiences with someone of her age - tips? issues to be aware of? things to do with her while we're taking turns on the fast rides?

  2. rock_doctor

    rock_doctor DIS Veteran

    Apr 6, 2009
    No tips, sorry. But if you hit the luggage people early in the morning they may lend you the wheel chair from the resort. Each resort has a couple that guests can borrow for the day but it is first come first serve. I would try to make use of the morning magic hours, there are not many rides open but you almost have the park to yourself for a couple hours. The parks are the real problem as seating is a premium. So maybe consider getting one of the cane/stool thingies from walmart or what ever. That way she can sit where ever and when ever she wants. Plan to drive everywhere so you can drop her off at the door. Good luck
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  4. ToddyLu

    ToddyLu Welcome aboard explorers- I love Mr. Ray

    Jun 6, 2008
    :) My MIL is 67 and goes with us often. She is very spry for her age. SHe enjoys the restaurants and resort touring. I would go in the morning, then break, then pick back up in the evening. Let her tell you what she wants to do. When she sits to rest, just do what you want and let her crowd watch. The pace will be slower but I would think that would allow time for new discoveries. I would get her one of those canes that has a sit that folds out. Then she has a place to sit waiting on the parades. It folds sorta like a tripod. You could easily carry it with you in the evenings while you are waiting on shows.

    If she wants to stay in the room and meet you later she may just need some time alone. My MIL had a goal of being in all four parks one day last year. She learned that she really enjoyed doing some things by herself and Disney is a great place to feel safe doing that. I would be sure I had a list of her meds, illness and allergies...just in case.
  5. Tink rules

    Tink rules <font color=teal>The kids in my family sometimes t

    Dec 30, 2006
    My mom is 78. She's healthy, but can't walk forever anymore either.

    My mom suggests...

    She shouldn't sit all day... let her walk as much as she is comfortable with... don't discourage the scooter and I bet by day 2 she might change her mind...

    take breaks... go back to the resort and take a swim. Rest for the afternoon.

    tell her to bring a book or a magazine for when you are on the rides... people watching is good too...

    Let her decide what rides she is comfortable with...There are lots of really nice places to rest. I suggest planning many stops. There are rocking chairs in Frontierland and Liberty square that are nice to sit and relax on.

    Rent a car or bring one of your own. Don't drag her on and off of busses... That way if she wants to go back to the resort or you want to with your son, then you can go back when you want and not have to wait for busses.

    If she wants to take the day and stay at the resort and rest or sit by the pool, then let her. Make sure she knows where to eat and also have your cell phone. Respect that she may not want to go everywhere you want to. Sometimes it just too much for my mom.

    When planning meals... be aware of any issues she might have with food.

    Pay attention to restrooms - just in case...

    Get some of the guidebooks or the Imagineering books even out of the library so she is aware of where she will be.

    Make sure you plan character meals also... My mom loves them as much as the kids do!!!

    Be careful of the heat. Make sure you have places that are cool to get in from the heat from. Inside shows, Innoventions at Epcot, The land too..

    Also... don't hesitate to find out where each parks first aid station is. It's not just for first aid. They have chairs and it is air conditioned too and a nice place to rest.

    Stay HYDRATED. Even more than you... she needs to stay hydrated even more. Seniors get more dehydrated than we do.

    Be aware of any meds that she has to take. The sun can affect some.

  6. ToddyLu

    ToddyLu Welcome aboard explorers- I love Mr. Ray

    Jun 6, 2008
    :) GF has a nice tea in the afternoons and would give her a chance to see a different resort. I would think that maybe while DH takes DS for a swim, she might enjoy touring the monorail resorts with you and getting coffee and dessert. I love traveling with my MIL and we even go on trips together without she is always a pleasure to have with us.
  7. Mr. Pig

    Mr. Pig I picked Monorail Coral.

    Nov 26, 2006
    I go often with my DM who just turned 85. She has never used a scooter - doesn't need or want one. She moves slow and rests a lot but doing this she can keep going for most of the day. My DM still goes on Spash Mtn and ToT but stays away from Space Mtn., EE and the like. She is content with finding a shady place to sit while others go on the more intense thrill rides. She enjoys people watching.

    Hopefully your party does not always have to do everything together and your MIL can rest up while some or all of the others go on intense rides.

    Try to do all things in one area of the parks at a time so that you are not criss-crossing accross the parks. This will cut down on walking. You can't expect to be too commando either. You will have to get used to taking your time a little bit more. This doesn't mean you can't still have a great time.

    Also be aware that some of the attractions may not be too intense but getting in and out may be hard. My DM doesn't like to go on Jungle Cruise because it is getting harder to climb in and out of the boat.

    And we even still use the Disney buses. If it is too full someone almost always gives her a seat or we will just wait for the next bus.
  8. SweetSerenity

    SweetSerenity Thank you evenin' star!

    May 8, 2009
    I'm not sure how well your MIL does with moving belts, but these were a big problem for us when we took my 82-year-old grandmother. She has arthritis terribly and heavily relies on a cane for literally every step she takes. We rented a scooter for her because, like your MIL, she is a feisty lady and refused to let someone push her around in a wheelchair when she could "drive" herself on an ECV. But when it came time for her to board Haunted Mansion or another slower moving ride she wanted to visit, those belts were tricky and she almost fell several times. Some of the CMs were very accommodating and slowed it down for her but she still had trouble. Like I said, I don't know if this will be an issue for you, but just be careful of them just in case.
  9. Gigi22

    Gigi22 DIS Veteran

    Apr 11, 2009
    It can still be quite hot in Sept., so I would make sure that your MIL is equipped for the heat.
    Has your MIL visited WDW before? I would talk to her and find out what she wants to see and do, and what her concept of visiting WDW is, and how strenuously she wants to tour the parks. I would schedule park days so that she has the opportunity to go on a couple of key rides early in the day (can you or your husband act as a fastpass runner for the family?), then sit in a theater-like attraction (like the Tiki Birds) to cool down and rest--or do some shopping. I would try to schedule sit-down meals in places with a/c.
    It seems to me that, since your son will still be quite young, your family will tour at a more relaxed pace, and will likely concentrate on the MK. You may wind up using the child swap technique on some rides (such as the Haunted House), so it will be important for the adults to figure out some logistics before you get to WDW.
  10. cbg1027

    cbg1027 Florida Girl

    Aug 21, 2009
    I often go with my 81 year old grandmother. Her biggest thing is our mid-afternoon rest/nap/swim time back at the resort. She couldn't go all day without it because we usually go for RD.

    My grandma is fine finding a shady place to sit if I want to ride something she can't. It actually works out well because then she gets a mini break time to have a snack or something.

    We both carry our own water bottles and on our last trip she bought us both little mini mister fans that were actually really helpful for both of us. And we were using them the last week of October!

    I think the biggest thing is to just remember to take it slow and don't dash around like a chicken with it's head cut off.
  11. fla4fun

    fla4fun DIS Veteran

    Nov 12, 2006
    When my mom first started having problems getting around Disney, she was stubborn about the scooter too. So one day when we were going to Epcot, I rented one anyway. I told her I rented it for her, but if she didn't want to use it I would use it myself and save wear and tear on my feet. Turns out, it was more about the expense than actually using the scooter. Once we had it, she tried it and loved it. We made a lot of trips to Disney we wouldn't have been able to without a scooter. Keep in mind that although Disney looks "flat" it's not. And some of those hills are really hard if you're pushing a wheelchair - AK is the worst park to try to push a wheelchair because of the different textures on the walking paths as well.

    I would agree with letting her set her own pace, and allowing her to nap while the rest of you are out and about. Definitely keep hydrated - my mom has a tendency to only drink when she's thirsty, and by then it's too late.
  12. summerlvr

    summerlvr Mouseketeer

    Feb 12, 2009
    Bring an umbrella for her to use for shade! It really does help. Make sure she uses lots of sunscreen, and don't forget the legs. A light colored hat with a wide brim is also helpful, and sunglasses are a must!
  13. qman

    qman DIS Veteran

    Jul 6, 2005
    My daughter (13) got really sick with a "bug" of some sort after our first day at the parks during our most recent trip. She spent the second day in bed as well as the first half of the third. While she was feeling better, she was very weak. We got a wheel chair for her for the next two days and it worked out great. Disney really has the system down pat and we had no problems enjoying the parks with little inconvenience; certainly a lot less than we would have had in the "outside world".
  14. disnut8

    disnut8 DIS Veteran

    Jan 21, 2005
    I advise you check into renting her a wheelchair from offsite that she can have 24/7. If you rent her one just in the parks, she will have to walk from the resort room to the buses, from the buses to the park entrance and then reverse it all. I had to rent a wheelchair just once for my husband for something that flared and it was the best thing I did since the chair was waiting for us when we checked into the resort and all we had to do was leave it at the front desk when we checked out.
  15. photobob

    photobob DIS Veteran

    Jan 13, 2003
    If it were my MIL, I just wouldn't tell her we were going!! No that's not true, we'd tell her so she could come feed our cats!:rotfl:
  16. sarah4770

    sarah4770 DIS Veteran

    Aug 8, 2005
    You picked a great resort to bring your MIL to. I would say, if she needs a "down day" just to rest in the middle of the trip, see that she has her breakfast in the room and go off and enjoy your day. get 2 cell phones so she can call if she needs you. check on her midday.
    ETa: request a ground floor room., you don't want her walking the steps.
  17. ElizabethB

    ElizabethB <font color=teal>I have a raw meat fetish. Who kne

    Jul 7, 2004
    This may sound insensitive, but I would tell her she is renting a scooter or she is not going! Pushing someone around in a wheelchair is a huge burden on the family members who have to do the pushing. As another poster notes, there are lots of inclines, etc. Unless she is unable to operate a scooter safely, I would tell her that is her only option.

    I speak from experience, by the way. Mom loves using a scooter. Dad, by contrast, felt that using a scooter made him "old". However, once he tried it, he was sold on it and enjoyed his park visits much more with it.
  18. dskib

    dskib DIS Veteran

    Jul 8, 2010
    Thanks for the tips! As for the scooter, I am CERTAIN that she would be out of control and borderline dangerous, not to mention the fact that she's already got it into her head that she can't use it. That's why we're taking the whole family- so her boys can take turns pushing. Don't get me wrong, we have a year to get her into a Walmart to try one out and practice with their carts - I just don't have high hopes. She's never driven a car or even ridden a bike, so the concept of tight turnes and going in reverse.......

  19. jeremyfix

    jeremyfix Earning My Ears

    Jun 16, 2010
    Oh no this isn't insensitive at all..... I told my 1 yr old that he's a huge burden on his mother and me when we have to push him around in a stroller all day long. I told him to man up and learn to walk or he was going to have to learn how to drive a scooter all trip long. Hope his feet can reach the pedals.
  20. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

    Jun 11, 2005
    Respectfully, some suggestions...

    One poster said once the older person in her party had access to the ECV she was willing to use it. Possibly the OP could take her mother-in-law to the supermarket (or WalMart or Target) and have her use one of the electric shopping carts? If her concern was her actual operating ability, this may help. If it's the cost, you might try what that poster - fla4fun - did. Rent it anyway :teeth: Ideally, she'll use it if you have it. You could even rent onsite the first day and bring the numbers of some offsite companies with you.

    Someone mentioned having your own car. If you weren't planning to have one, then unless your mother-in-law has severe joint issues that prevent her from getting on and off a bus a few times a day - i.e. two steps each time, max - this seems to me more trouble than it's worth. Either someone would have to drive her (and you'd have to get between the car and the park, probably using the tram which also has steps), or she'd be driving herself so if someone wanted to take your toddler back to the room for a break, it'd either have to be on your MIL's schedule... or on the bus.

    SweetSerenity mentioned trouble with the moving walkways, so this is for her as well :). TELL the Cast Members at these attractions that you need the moving walkway slowed, or even stopped. This can't be done at Peter Pan or Tomorrowland Transit Authority, but everywhere else they'll even stop the walkway. They don't want anyone getting hurt!

    Floppy hats, good. Umbrellas? Please, NO. The ribs are at the eye levels of, and therefore hazardous to, too many other Guests.
  21. honeydiane1953

    honeydiane1953 DIS Veteran

    Jun 8, 2009
    I have wanted to post on this but thought no. I would INSIST she get a scooter. If u talked her into a WChair someone would have to push her. Those scooter can go fast and slow and she will love them. Due to a spinal fusion I had several yrs ago getting a scooter is the ONLY way I would be able to go. I don't use one at home. So much walking if she wanted to go with me she would get a scooter. Plain and simple. BTW I am much younger than her.:teacher:

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