Even without the restrictions on travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including our elderly family members on vacation can be difficult. These difficulties can range from concerns about whether our older relatives with delicate health can handle the stresses of a flight to worries about not having wheelchair access at the places we want to visit.
However, these concerns don’t need to stop you from including senior citizens into plans for a staycation or a fun day out in Singapore. We will talk about why it can be safe and even beneficial to bring seniors out to attractions and staycations. Next, we will go over some elderly-friendly attractions and accessible hotels where you can include your elderly family members in a hassle-free holiday experience.
Why Should You Bring Your Seniors to Attractions?
Bringing your seniors to attractions and staycations can be a great way to improve their mental wellbeing. Many older individuals are at risk of lower mental health because they are more likely to live alone and have experienced the death of friends and family members. Poor social relationships among the elderly are associated with a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and even premature death. Including seniors on holidays can shore up their mental health by making sure they know their company is appreciated and they are valued members of the family.
Including your older family members on holidays can also help to forge stronger relationships between seniors and the rest of the family. Your children might even learn to have greater patience and empathy through bonding with their aged relatives. Forging stronger bonds through going on holiday together can have lasting benefits not just for your seniors, but the rest of the family.
5 Elderly-Friendly Attractions in Singapore
1. ArtScience Museum
The ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands features exhibits which can appeal to all members of the family. With exhibits ranging from Star Wars movies to video games and interactive virtual reality (VR) galleries, there will be something to delight every member of the family.
The museum has a large elevator that goes to all floors and wheelchair-accessible toilets throughout the building. All walkways are at least 1.2m wide to accommodate wheelchair users. Manual wheelchairs are available free of charge upon request at the level 1 Visitor Experience Counter. Furthermore, guide dogs are allowed inside the museum and there are concession rates for people with disabilities (PWDs) and their guardians when purchasing tickets to visit the museum.
2. Botanic Gardens
With wide walkways and sprawling green fields, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is a scenic attraction where you can bring your older family members for a scenic day out. One way you can treat the seniors in your family is by bringing them to the National Orchid Garden where they can see over 1,000 different species of orchids from around the world in an environment that simulates a montane forest. The Botany Centre and the entrance to the gardens is wheelchair-accessible. Wheelchair loan services, first-aid and emergency services are available at the Visitor Services Centre located a short walk from Nassim Gate.
3. Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay offers many large and beautiful exhibits that let you have a relaxing day with your senior relatives in beautiful surroundings. You can enjoy looking at flowers from areas as far as the Mediterranean in the Flower Dome or admire aquatic plants and wildlife at the Dragonfly & Kingfisher Lakes. Cafes spread around Gardens by the Bay allow your older relatives a place to relax and recharge.
Many areas in Gardens by the Bay are wheelchair-accessible. Gardens by the Bay has a wheelchair-accessible shuttle bus fleet that is free to use for wheelchair users. Wheelchairs can be rented at $2 an hour at the Arrival Gift Shop, which can save you the effort of having to pack a wheelchair when you go there. All wheelchairs must be returned by 8 p.m.
4. National Museum of Singapore
The National Museum of Singapore is a great destination for your older family members to reminisce about the history they lived through. The Growing Up exhibition showcases items from the 1950s and 1960s, which can help your older family members to relive their memories. Your seniors might also enjoy Yip Yew Chong’s life-size murals of the sights and sounds of 20th century Singapore, like street side barbers and provision shops displayed on the LED Wall opposite The Salon. Accessible parking for people with special needs and manual wheelchairs are available at the museum, as well as Quiet Spots around the exhibits where your seniors can sit and rest.
5. Singapore Zoo
Spending a day in the zoo can make for a relaxed outing for the whole family. Bringing both seniors and juniors along to the Singapore Zoo can also be a valuable way to forge intergenerational bonds as your older relatives can explain the exhibits to the younger. You can visit the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari and enjoy tram and boat rides around the parks with the ParkHopper Plus admission package.
Wheelchairs are complimentary for guests with limited mobility at all of Singapore Wildlife Reserves’ (SWR) parks, including the Jurong Bird Park and the River Safari. You can obtain a wheelchair at the reception counter located at the entrance to the zoo. Some of the trams that bring visitors around the zoo also have special seats for wheelchair users. You can have unlimited rides on the tram throughout the day by purchasing tickets online beforehand at $5 for adults and $3 for children aged 3 to 12.
5 Accessible Hotels for a Safe and Fun Staycation with Your Elderly Loved Ones
1. Andaz Singapore
Andaz Singapore is in an accessible location downtown near the Bugis MRT station. It boasts spacious rooms that provide plenty of room for people on wheelchairs to move around, with room sizes ranging from 76 sq m for the Studio Suite King to the 188 sq m Presidential Suite.
2. Four Seasons Hotel @ Orchard
Four Seasons Hotel has elderly-friendly and accessible suites on the 6th floor. Bathrooms also have showers designed to be accessible to wheelchair users as well as grip bars to prevent elderly users from slipping and falling inside the bathroom when the floor is wet.
3. Genting Hotel @ Jurong
Genting Hotel Jurong has accessible hotel rooms on levels 11, 12 and 13. Each washroom is outfitted with accessible toilets and wash closets, grab bars, and a shower seat to allow oneself to sit down while taking a shower and reduce the risk of tripping.
4. Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Despite its hefty price tag, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel is still one of the best choices if you’re looking for accessible hotels for your senior family members. Their accessible suites can be found across different price tiers to cater to different budgets. Their distinctive infinity pool is also wheelchair-accessible.
5. Shangri La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort
Shangri La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort has Accessible Hotel Rooms on its 3rd and 8th floors. Each of their accessible rooms has a lower bed than usual to make it easier for people in wheelchairs to get onto the bed and roll-in shower and toilet facilities.
7 Things You Should Consider When Making Staycation Plans with Your Seniors
We have gone over some attractions and hotels in Singapore where your older family members can be safe and still enjoy themselves at the same time. At the same time this doesn’t mean we can throw all caution out of the window. Our elderly loved ones’ health conditions still require consideration if we want to include them meaningfully in our holiday plans.
1. Don’t fuss over your seniors too much
When travelling with senior citizens, it can be easy to worry about things like whether they can make the long walk between different attractions or if they will be okay after bumping against a railing. Your elderly family members are still adults and do not need to be watched over all the time. In fact, giving your seniors some space can help to boost their confidence and well-being by restoring their sense of independence.
2. Discuss your plans beforehand
People of different ages would have different holiday preferences. This is important to keep in mind, especially in an intergenerational family. For example, while your young children would want to go on the roller coasters, your elderly parents would rather spend the afternoon relaxing in a café. While you might want a one-day staycation, your older family members might want a longer holiday over the weekend. You should include your senior family members when you plan your holidays so that they do not feel compelled to always participate in activities they’re not interested in. Taking your seniors’ preferences into account is important to planning a holiday that they will genuinely enjoy.
3. Keep the itinerary simple
When you arrive at an attraction, it can be tempting to want to try out all the activities and finish visiting all the sights as soon as you can for fear of missing out. This can be overwhelming to seniors who are travelling with you. Older family members with Alzheimer’s disease might especially be easily agitated at changes in routine. Planning two or three activities for the day and sticking to the itinerary would make the holiday a more pleasant experience for your seniors than trying to shake up the schedule when you discover a new activity to do or place to go.
4. Learn to recognise and prevent signs of agitation
Seniors with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease can become easily irritated from environmental stimuli like loud noises and bright lights. If you know that your elderly family members are sensitive to stimuli, try to avoid bringing them to events like a noisy concert or a light show with bright flashing lights. Learn to recognise the warning signs of agitation early on so that you can remove your older family member from whatever is triggering their reaction and calm them down.
5. Plan plenty of time for rest
Our senior family members may not have as much as energy as the rest of the family to walk around for long periods of time. Making them be on the go constantly from place to place can cause fatigue or even physical injury. Remember to include lots of time for rest to give your older family members a chance to recharge before moving on to the next item on the schedule.
6. Remember to pack essentials in case of emergency
Even if you think you have planned a fool-proof itinerary, you never know when an emergency could happen. It is good to be prepared for any situation where you might have to administer medication or call emergency services. Some of our older family members might also be on long-term medication that has to be taken at regular intervals during a staycation. You should pack doctor’s letters, medication, first-aid supplies, and a list of emergency contacts so that staff at your destination can also assist you in the event of an emergency.
7. Take things slow
With your seniors, it is important to consider that they can get easily tired and overwhelmed from having to do many things during a holiday. They might not need to have to do a lot of things to be happy during a trip out. While you or your younger family members might want to experience all your destination has to offer, you also need to take your older family members’ feelings into consideration. Taking your time at one attraction rather than rushing on to the next might let them have a more satisfying holiday experience.
If the senior you want to travel with is exhibiting signs of advanced dementia, it might not be a good idea to bring them with you on holiday. Signs of advanced dementia include severe memory loss, hallucinations, problems with communication, and frequently being confused about who or where they are. Travelling with seniors with advanced dementia can be dangerous especially if they wander away and cannot remember who to contact or where they are supposed to be. In cases where your seniors have severe deterioration in their mental capabilities, it might be safer to leave them in the care of a relative or nursing home for some time while you travel.
Regardless of whether you choose to travel with your elderly family members or let them stay at home, Homage is here to provide you with what you need for a safe yet enjoyable experience. We can arrange for medical escort and transport services to help you bring your senior relatives to and from their destinations. You can also engage a caregiver from one of our trained Care Pros to help look after older relatives if you have to be away. With us, your senior family members can stay safe wherever they might be.
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