Eight Things to do With Older People in London
London has a lot to offer for people of all ages - and part of good elderly care is helping to keep the mind active and engaged. Here are eight of the best things to do on a visit to London.
- London Bus Tour
- The London Eye
- The Shard
- St Paul’s Cathedral
- The British Museum
- The Churchill War Rooms
- ZSL London Zoo
- The Tower of London
London has a lot to offer for people of all ages - and part of good elderly care is helping to keep the mind active and engaged.
Even if your parents have special requirements such as difficulty walking or memory problems, it’s still possible to have a great time in the capital. If they normally have live-in care in London or in-home care, then it might be a good idea to arrange for the caregiver to come along too. Alternatively, a trip to London could be a good time for a live-in carer to take a couple of days off, so discuss the options ahead of time to make sure that everyone is happy with the arrangements.
Bear in mind that if one or both of your parents require specialist Alzheimer’s or dementia care then you need to be extra vigilant. An elderly person wandering alone through the streets of London will quickly become disorientated, so if they normally require 24/7 care at home it might be sensible to arrange for temporary private care during your holiday if their usual carer is not present.
When booking, check with the hotel or guesthouse to ensure that the facilities are appropriate for your family’s requirements. If your loved one’s room is not on the ground floor, then you need to make sure that there is a suitable lift. You may also need to take some items to aid bathing and dressing.
Arrange an itinerary that won’t tire your parents unnecessarily, but that will give them plenty to look at and enjoy during their trip. Here are eight of the best things to do on a visit to London.
London Bus Tour
The bus is a good alternative to the London Underground, which can be difficult logistically for many older people. Different tour operators offer scenic journeys around the capital, and travelling on an open bus can be nostalgic for older Londoners as well as providing an excellent way to see many of the city’s most popular attractions.
If your parents have mobility problems, then stay on the lower deck, but even here you can enjoy a commentary about the sights of London. Most tours allow you to ‘hop on and off’ so that you can explore any area that catches your attention if mobility allows.
Many major bus tour operators also include a ticket to travel on one of the many cruise boats that ply up and down the Thames’ waters - so look out for special offers and discounts and see the city from another angle.
The London Eye
Offering a bird’s eye view of the city, the London Eye is worth a visit if you all have a good head for heights. The capsules have a central seating area, but queues can be lengthy, so book in advance and select the Fast Track option to avoid having to stand in line. For a special treat, you can reserve an entire capsule for your family, which gives you access to a private lounge area before your ‘flight’ around the wheel.
Another experience that allows you to take advantage of London’s most spectacular views is a trip up The Shard. A high-speed lift ride whisks you to the top of this glass building, where, on a clear day, you can see up to 40 miles out across the city. It’s possible to eat up here too; there’s a restaurant, but you will need to book a table in advance.
St Paul’s Cathedral
The iconic cathedral is a popular tourist attraction that many older people enjoy visiting. Head for the South entrance, which offers stair-free access to a lift that will take you to the main cathedral and the crypt. Check opening times before you visit, as they vary according to the season and any services being held.
Mikis’ care story
In this short video, Nick and Maro explain their reasons for choosing Elder live-in care.
They discuss how live-in care has allowed Nick’s father Mikis to stay independent in his own home while making a new friend at the same time.
The British Museum
You can easily spend an entire day at the vast British Museum, and with free entry it’s an ideal place to while away a few hours. Although there are steps up to the entrance, you can bypass these with lifts. There is also lift access to all the areas of the museum. So pick a gallery - from Egyptian to Greek or Ancient Japan - and explore at your leisure.
The Churchill War Rooms
Your elderly parents may be interested in seeing Churchill’s secret underground war rooms, where he planned his war strategy during WWII. Lift access leads down from the street entrance at Birdcage Walk, and there are wheelchairs available for those with mobility problems. The Churchill Museum is part of the attraction and offers an insight into his life and work.
ZSL London Zoo
If the weather is nice head for Regent’s Park and spend an afternoon, or a day, touring the extensive grounds and visiting the animals at London Zoo. Wheelchairs are available to hire with a refundable £25 deposit.
The Tower of London
No visit to London is complete without a trip to the Tower, full of history and mystery. Not all of the ancient buildings, some with uneven and winding stairs befitting their age, are suitable for those with mobility challenges, but the website has a useful general access guide, which you can find here.
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