When a person with COPD loves their grandkids to the moon and back, we need to find a way to keep them included as much as possible. Sometimes this is as simple as making plans to pick them up for a ball game (as long as they are physically able), or it can get as elaborate as camping out in the living room. That’s right. I said camping out in the living room. So you’ve never heard of pitching the tent on the carpet? Well let me explain.
Think for a moment about some of the triggers for your patient. If some of them are heat, humidity, pollen, mold, and dust, I would imagine that normal camping is becoming more difficult. Another way for them to go camping is to bring camping to them.
In the controlled environment of the living room, you will have all of the medications, oxygen, and comforts of home, if needed. The air conditioner can be set to a comfortable temperature, and of course for the much needed midnight snack, the refrigerator is only a few steps away. If you use an air mattress, the discomfort of the hard floor is not as bad. Add some pillows and a blanket to make it luxurious, and you’ve got your own private campsite.
Need s’mores? No problem. If you don’t have a problem with microwaves, just set it up on a plate: graham cracker, chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker. Then microwave it until the chocolate and the marshmallow begin to melt. Smash it together and wait about thirty seconds to a minute, and tada! You have a s’more.
Even if your patient cannot get inside the tent and sleep, the entire living room becomes the campsite. Sit around and tell stories. Have them tell the grandkids about when they were young or some of the old urban legends that they remember. You never know, you might even learn something. Share ghost stories and sing silly songs. Make some strong coffee, and stay up late trying not to giggle.
The important thing is that you include them in the evening. A campsite living room is only a tent in the house when you do not include the people that you love. It is all about building memories. Doing things like this will give them unique memories. Anyone can go to a state park and camp, but it takes stepping outside of the box to bring camping inside.
We pulled out the tent a few times in the house for play, but unfortunately this is something that I did not think about doing until after mom’s journey was over. It is a “smack my head” moment. Why did I not make it a camping weekend with her? We did other things, but honestly, I am sitting here imagining this great camping adventure, and I know it would have been magnificent.
Children remember the fun things easier than things that they consider boring. Make memories with your loved one that are creative and fun. Who knows, this camping trip may even become a family tradition.