The Philadelphia Flower Show and Aging Parents: All You Need is Love

Big Ben at the Flower ShowA huge version of Big Ben was the focal point as we entered the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show yesterday. Theme: “Great Britain.”

The gigantic clock face, as the hands reached the hour, Beatlesdisappeared and delighted spectators as it was replaced by a showcase of Britain’s most popular musicians–beginning with the Beatles singing  ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE.

Indeed, cameras continually clicked in an effort to forever capture one beautiful display after another. Gorgeous spring gardens, plants, and flower arrangements surrounded us with a palette of colors… especially welcome in this part of the country on a sunny, but very cold, March day.

I’ve written about the Philadelphia Flower Show before. It’s written about in 1000 Places to See Before You Die, which makes it an especially desirable outing for any age.  That said, displays are relocated this year in such a way as to make the floor space much easier for older people to navigate.

For example, we used to endure long crowded lines in order to see the ever-popular display of petite flower arrangements and petite settings. It was difficult for a mobile person to get a good, unrushed view of these little treasures, not to mention someone in a wheel chair. The displays are now in different–although nearby–spaces. There were no lines when I was there–only happy viewers.

I see parents pushing children in strollers, and wonder why more adult children can’t/don’t make that same effort for their aging parents and grandparents. Then I see the gentleman pictured below (in his mid-80’s he said). I told him of my observation. He responded: “If you wonder why I bring my wife in a wheel chair…Because I love her.”

Why? Because I Love Her

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED

Click this link for excellent photos of the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show, which runs through March 10th.

A Fun Evening Outing for Aging Parents and You

Drive-In movie at Javelina Stadium parking lot...

Image via Wikipedia

A Drive-in Movie?
You thought they no longer existed, neither did I.
Nor did I know they play 1st-run movies. 

I read yesterday’s Wall Street Journal’s article, Drive-Ins Hang Tough in Digital Age, with curiosity–perhaps craving nostalgia, perhaps hoping to revive long-forgotten thoughts of my youth. Hope fulfilled.

Memories of my first drive-in movie, “From Here to Eternity” were as a young child wearing pajamas, sitting in the back seat of mother’s car with her friend’s child–also in PJ’s–while our mothers watched the movie. We were clueless as to plot, my only memory is of waves washing up on the shore and the fact that it was an adventure–watching a movie from a cozy car, plus we got to stay up late.

As teenagers the drive-in was a popular destination in our small (at the time) desert town but I thought it had gone the way of dinosaurs. Wrong.

Didn’t realize drive-in-theaters still exist until I read yesterday’s WSJ article and clicked http://www.driveins.com/. Update 9/2012: click link, click “open”–as opposed to closed drive-ins, enter state, click town and drive-in’s website for up-to-date information. Further searching finds ratings/comments for some. (I learned, from the comments, that you bring a portable radio to some drive-ins to get the audio.)

As a far-away-living adult child I was always looking for new, fun, easy and interesting things to do with my parents as they aged–to offset the inevitable medically-related expenditures of time.

If they were still alive I’m certain I would search for a drive-in theater with a  first-run movie I knew they’d enjoy. We could sit comfortably in the car–together–and perhaps relive that “good-old-days” feeling for a few hours.

As my parents aged it seemed, (and I’m guessing it’s true for many seniors) that thoughts of their younger days were a pleasurable diversion from current realities. They enjoyed sharing memories with their steadily declining group of contemporaries and loved it when my high school friends came for a visit.

Taking elderly/aging parents to a drive-in movie, or–as mentioned in past posts–revisiting places they formally lived or loved going to, or clicking http://www.vpike.com/ to see their old “haunts” and their old neighborhood as they are today should bring pleasure to many.

While new opportunities to bring pleasure are sometimes elusive, don’t you think they contribute to helping parents age well?

A smattering of drive-in sites: http://valleydriveins.com/
http://www.vintagedrivein.com/  http://sunsetdriveinaurora.com/

San Diego Zoo: Perfect For You; Aging Parents Too

While on vacation, my time is very limited and  access to wireless is ify at best.  Nevertheless, this week and next, I will try to post on schedule (Tuesdays and Saturdays) if possible.

Tonight I’m wondering: why do we see zillions (slight exaggeration) of adult children pushing all types of strollers at the San Diego Zoo, but very few aging parents (or adult children pushing wheelchairs with aging parents) enjoying the attractions that zoos offer?  Is it that an aging parent–or old parent–no longer enjoys this?

We’ve been invited to stay with friends at a beach in the San Diego area. Walking barefoot in the sand and putting feet in the water feels good!  So does breathing the  fresh air.  And sunsets on the Pacific ocean are magnificent.  (See photo and August 17th post.)

But I want to talk about Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo in Balboa park, which we visited today.  Just minutes from downtown San Diego by way of the freeway (if it isn’t loaded with traffic), this park is a visual treat: acres of amazing vegetation, wonderful gardens, and beautifully designed buildings (many are museums) from a bygone era.  Simply driving through the park’s many acres is a memorable experience.

The zoo, however, is the major attraction for us.  With top professional attention given to endangered species, conservation, natural habitats, the latest in animal care, and no doubt more animals than any other zoo in the US, it’s in a class by itself.  AND it’s user-friendly to every age group.   Wheelchairs, strollers, and some kind of little motorized vehicles–along with trams and gondolas–make the zoo easily accessible.

But be forewarned: if our goal is to help aging parents by giving them a fun outing, and because every animal from A-Z can be seen in its natural habitat, it’s important to know the limits of our parents’ energy.  Prioritize what’s of most interest. (There are plenty of workers and volunteers who can help you).  I’ve learned 3 hours is my max, but as little as an hour at the San Diego Zoo can be a highlight for young and old if it’s well planned.

Check weather, go early to beat the heat in summer, take handicapped parking permit and bring or buy water on a hot day. Remember: aging parents often don’t feel thirsty, but dehydration is dangerous.  If a trip to the San Diego Zoo is doable, it will help aging parents to have another outing they’ll never forget.