Wheelchair-bound mother visiting Taiwan - Suggestions?

Original Title: An honest question:

An honest question. I really want my parents to visit me in Taiwan, but they are both in their seventies and my mother is obese. Her legs are caving in and her knees ache. She needs surgery to insert plastic kneecaps, but refuses, because they apparently only have a 15 year lifespan. Wtf? Does she think she’s going to live to 90? Hope she does, but that’s not the issue. Where can I take them that’s wheelchair friendly? !@#$%^ Even going to the local 7-11 burns my legs. Steps, steps and more steps. How do debilitated people get around? Must be a right pain in the knee.

Saddly, debilitated people in Taiwan don’t generally get out much–how many have you seen?

Also, A friend’s mother, though she was in better shape than yours, went to Taiwan to be with her after her daughter was born. She was also in her seventies. Well, no one is immune to culture shock and I really think it was just that much harder for her mom, her being that much older.

So, not only would your mom have to deal with the culture shock, if she DID managet to get out and about, she’d be very uncomfortable and subject to stares and rude comments from many local folks who just don’t see many seriously obese people in the first place and don’t seem to feel that staring is rude. Your mom could actually be very uncomfortable in Taiwan. That’s not to mention the long flight which would be very tough on an obese person.

Think this through carefully.

Cheers Housecat. If someone makes a nasty comment about my Mum I will slap their horrid little faces. Shite, she just love Hi-Chews.

Wheelchair friendly? Seriously? Not much. A bit around Xinyi district, the university campuses. That’s about it. If mobility is a major issue, I’d seriously reconsider having your parents visit you here.

I wouldn’t worry about people making nasty comments unless your mom speaks Chinese. Otherwise, you’d better start practicing your slap cuz’ you’re gonna have to do a lot of slapping. Oh, and have you thought about the humidity? The tight spaces? The crowds? The pace? The sidewalks? If there are sidewalks??? You should really reconsider bringing your parents to Taiwan.

And all this for Hi-Chews? Are Hi-Chews illegal where they live or something? Just bring her some the next time you visit her! Geez.

So naturally this question finds its way into “Dating & Relationships.” (Perhaps the category should read "Dating OR Relationships…?)

Taipei is very accommodating of the mobility-impaired. I see them all the time–inching themselves along on their dollies in order to sell chewing gum and lottery tickets, or banging their heads against the pavement in desperate kowtows.

Well let’s see. National Palace Museum… Other museums, and activity-type stuff like Chinese opera… CKS Memorial… Longshan Temple and Zhinangong (both right on MRT line)… The 228 Peace Park… Danshui river walk (if it’s not too crowded)… Taipei 101 would work if you can push her (or get a motorized chair) for three blocks from the MRT station…

Night markets are probably too much hassle. I took my mother to Taroko (the hotel there sells van-based tours) but it sounds like yours is not ambulatory at all, and she’d have to sit in the van while everybody else got out and walked around. It would still be very beautiful though.

jimi, you asked an honest question, so I’m going to give you an honest answer. I’m in agreement with those who say you should reconsider; not because of what the ignorant-thick-as-pig-shit-betelnut-chewing-retards might say, but because I don’t think your mother will enjoy her visit.

My mother visited me last November and stayed until mid-January. She is eighty, but much younger than her years - we even took trips with her on the back of my scooter. And yet, she did not enjoy Taiwan. She has no knowledge of Chinese / Taiwanese culture nor language, but is a great observer. At the end of her first day here she turned to me and asked, “What’s wrong with these people?”

Honestly, if you want to see your mum, go home for a visit.

That was exactly what my friend’s mom kept saying!

That was exactly what my friend’s mom kept saying![/quote]

I’ve been here five years and I still say that at least twenty times a day.

(Doesn’t stop me liking the place, though)

Longshan Temple is insanely crowded. I can’t imagine trying to navigate a wheelchair past the mess of cobblestone, traffic and people in front of the temple and getting around once inside. Zhinangong would be even worse. Not as crowded, but it’s on the side of an extremely steep hill that’s completely inaccessible to the wheelchair bound (either the gondola or some ride up in a tightly crammed minibus driving crazily up some windy roads.)

The Danshui nightmarket could be OK on a weekday night. 228 Park and CKS Memorial Hall would be OK provided you don’t do it in this summer heat and get there via MRT without having to interchange at Taipei Main Station.

Shouldn’t this be in Dating & Relationships?

Seriously, me dear auld Ma doesn’t get around so good, she uses a cane, and I’ve never even considered her coming over.
Even the stairs to my apartment would be prohibitive, let alone trying to do ANYTHING in most of Taipei, with the now you see 'em, now you don’t sidewalks (pavements) and everything else.

No. Bad idea. Crazy idea. Mad. Don’t you love your dear old ma? Why do you want her to hate you?

You could do it, but it would be a bit tricky. I would recommend hiring a car and driver, one of those big mini-van sized taxis would do it. Then, you could get mom out of the car and into her wheelchair, and just get the driver to pick you up later. You would also need to do extensive reconnaissance of every place you wanted to visit, to ensure that it was wheelchair - friendly. Later, when you take your mom, make sure you think of timing. That is, don’t take her along Danshui’s Old Street at 6pm on a Saturday, when it’s choked with people. Many places are OK for wheelchairs: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the National Palace Museum, Da’an park. I think you could get a wheelchair into the Chienkuo jade market. I’m sure you could get her into the Grand Hotel too. With a driver, you could also check out the coast, Yangmingshan etc without having to get out a lot. But a car and driver runs about, ??? 3000NTD per day ???

I doubt people would say anything. My mother loves to come here, people are so polite and respectful. Provided you take the above precautions it would likely be a successful trip and one that she would likely treasure for the rest of her life and my mother does the memories of her trips.

Regarding the weight, I see really obese people everyday, in their scooters. Less than in the West, but they are up and about.

Maybe, in a pinch, you can also rent one of those assited mobility vehicles, from those medical stores. Taipei itself is quite user friendly for those, though I agree that once you go to Taipei County sidewalks will dissappear…

I want my Mom to come here, too, and she also has a problem with one of her legs. I am more worried about stairs -plenty of them here- especially, since the woman is afraid of escalators and elevators. Sigh

My uncle and Aunt recently visited and they are almost wheelchair bound. It was hard going for them let me tell you and they can walk albeit, just. They could use wheelchairs in the airport, but that was it.
There are few enough locals that dare go out in chairs and those that do are often a bit mad, going down the middle of the road in an electric chair. Not for the feint of heart, that’s for sure.
I’ll be glad to get off this mud heap before I suffer any disability I hope.

This place can be a nightmare for wheel chair bound folks. I have a local friend here in Taichung and she tells me all about the unfair treatment she receives and lack of accessibility. I think the “everyman for himself” mentality on the streets could be a bit much, not exactly courteous. My mom loves it here and comes every year, but she is only 60 and has good mobility. The washrooms will be a problem too, the old school ones anyway. If your mom wants to come, you just need a very detailed plan, I’m sure you’ve learned to pay attention to every detail. Don’t let these obstacles get in the way. She may just enjoy her trip here. :wink:

Even in Taipei, I used to walk around looking at what passed for wheelchair accessability and just shake my head. While most places are accessable at the corners of intersections, just as many more places have the only chair accessability down the side of the road, a block or two, at a place that gets blocked with parked cars, or if it’s open, means that in order to use it you must come directly out of or into traffic. And many times, the acessability ends with the sidewalk. Even the front door of a place has a little step up, or is on another floor up a narrow stairway.

Museams may be accessable, but you first have to get to the museam. There is no way I would ever have gotten my mother around anywhere on the island. I’m sure you and your mom would be thrilled to see eachother, but wouldn’t it be true if you saw her at home? Make lots of video, take lots of pictures, bring back some of the more exotic snacks for her to sample, make cd’s of popular music, record of little of the local t.v., go to the beach and scoop a little sand in a pretty little bottle, bring some nice gift–there may not be a really typical Taiwanese gift, but my own mom likes the traditional wedding cake and those hanging plant holders made of shells. Take all this stuff home next visit and bring Taiwan to your mom. Have Taiwan night when you do a discovery of what life is like for you there. Trust me, it will be more fun for you both.

Wheelchair ramps are for scooters, I don’t know why they simply don’t just change the logo for a plastic motorcycle silhouette. It’s really hard trying to push a pushchair/stroller around Taipei county. I’d love to offer positive suggestions other than driving a car everywhere and parking on a red line whenever you want to disembark, but I’m afraid I can’t. Everything else is simply impractical. Perhaps most places beyond Taipei would be a little more convenient? I’m thinking along the lines of the driving option and that there are more opportunities to park [and with more spaces] either legally or illegal, but without penalty beyond Taipei city/county. There is also less traffic around much of the island and so wheelchairs on the road could be a little safer and more convenient?! There is more tendency to drink drive elsewhere though, so watch out!

My mom came over to see me when she was only 44 and she hated it too.

Not only is the flight uncomfortable for someone who is both older and has weight problems, but it’s also deadly because of the long flight from the US to here. My mother got a pulmonary embolism not too long after she came and the doctors think it might have started as a blood clot during her flight here and her BMI was below obese.

If your mother can’t even walk around comfortably, then it seriously increases the risk for blood clots in the legs which eventually wind up in places you don’t want them to be in.

It is wonderful to want to have your parents come and see what you’re doing and to experience what your everyday life is like, but do you really want to risk it causing health problems for them later on?

Send them a video tour and a package of Taiwanese treats (I know, an oxymoron in many ways… :wink: ) instead.