A trip to the movies is a great way to spend quality time with your aging parents. If your folks have mobility issues, these five tips can help make their movie-going experience more enjoyable.
1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Rushing to get to the theater and find seating can make the entire experience stressful and frustrating for both you and your parents. Rushing a parent with mobility issues may also lead to an accidental fall or injury.
Give yourself plenty of time by leaving early and finding seating as soon as possible. If you arrive extra-early, bring along a book or a magazine to keep everyone occupied before the previews start.
By arriving early, you can eliminate the stress of having to find seating and getting settled.
2. Make Sure You Have All the Supplies You Need
Going to the movies doesn't have to be a major affair, but it's still important to make sure that you have all the supplies your parents need to enjoy their experience.
If your parent is a diabetic, be sure to pack all necessary supplies, such as a glucose meter and necessary medication. Keep in mind that movie theater concessions are loaded with sugar and may not be the best snack option for your parents.
If you plan to get drinks and popcorn, pack any eating or drinking aids your parents might need.
3. Take Advantage of Discounts
Many movie theaters offer senior discounts, and many also allow companions to accompany a disabled movie-goer for free. Ask your local theater about any discounts they may offer, and take advantage of those.
Regal Movie Theaters is one such theater that waives companion ticket fees, and all of their theaters offer accessible seating.
4. Choose a Theater with Accessible Seating
As you now know, Regal Theaters offers wheelchair accessible seating as well as companion seating. Other theaters offer accessible seating as well. Do your research to find a local theater that can accommodate your parents.
Keep in mind that if your parents do not need or use a wheelchair, they will not be permitted to sit in the accessible seating area. As per the ADA rules: "People with disabilities who do not require the specific features of accessible seating but merely have a preference for them are not entitled to purchase accessible seats."
If you require accessible seating, AXS Map can help you find reviews on how accessible your local theater is.
In some cases, accessible seating is still available even in shows marked as "sold out," so ask a theater attendant if there any available seats before choosing a different time or movie.
5. Ask for Assistive Hearing and Vision Devices
If your parents have difficulty hearing or seeing, most chain movie theaters, like AMC, offer assistive hearing and vision devices for movie-goers. Closed captioning devices are also available at some theaters.
AMC theaters offers assistive listening devices, but you'll have to ask for them at the guest services desk. If you have a special need or need assistance, don't be afraid to speak up and ask.