advice for taking an eldery family member to the Big House

Submitted by ifis on November 15th, 2015 at 9:15 PM

My 89 year old grandfather, who is an alum, is adamant that he wants to come with me to the UM-Ohio State game.  I am excited/proud to take him and have two tickets, but I am also a bit worried.  Has anyone one on the board attended a game at that age or taken a family member of that age?  Any advice? 



November 16th, 2015 at 8:42 AM ^

you will have no problems. Like many have said, get there early, stay in your seats. Be sure to have supplies on you, you guys should have a great time. One Question tho , are you sure you want what could be his last Live UM game to be watching OSU wipe their asses with UM all over the field at the big house ? Odds are that is what's going to happen, just saying... the way it's great that doing this is important to you, take it in brother.

The Brain

November 15th, 2015 at 9:21 PM ^

Just make sure you're very aware of access to water.  I know it sounds crazy, and it shouldn't be an issue in November, but after the new policy I've seen several issues with the elderly and dehydration.


November 15th, 2015 at 9:24 PM ^

My uncle who was wheelchairbound and 80 had several pretty negative experiences with the stadium experience regarding accomodation for nearby parking and staium access.  Both years we went we were told one thing on the phone and then found none of the accomodations mentioned were in place on gameday and there was no one who could help.   This was a couple years ago so maybe they have fixed it, but just have a back up plan in case accomodations you set up in advance aren't there on gameday.

Edit:  They do have handicap parking and handicap seats if you need that so make sure to contact the athletic department if you need special accomodations.


November 15th, 2015 at 9:40 PM ^

This runs pretty close to my experience when I took my mom to games a couple of times.  She is not elderly, but she is handicapped.  I love the University, but their staff simply didn't know what it was doing with accessbiility.  Go ahead and call looking for tips and advice, but be prepared to be told something completely different when you arrive or when you look for help.


November 16th, 2015 at 12:08 AM ^

Parking is a big issue. I haven't taken extremely elderly, but I took my dad to a game six months before he died of cancer, and he had very similar capabilities to a man in his 80s at the time.

We went early, I dropped him off at the gate, and then I dropped the extra cash for a good spot at the golf course (may have been handicapped, I don't recall, but we had the sticker). Still, moving around the stadium was a chore. We had requested season tickets right next to the tunnel that year, and that did help quite a bit; didn't have to climb a lot of stairs.

They've changed the way they do things a lot since then, of course. If there is a wheelchair involved there should be a way to exchange your tickets for wheelchair spots, if there are some available. Not sure what to tell you about parking and getting around the concourse, though.

Stu Daco

November 15th, 2015 at 9:29 PM ^

Where are your tickets?  Is he able to walk comfortably?

I would echo the comments about water.  It's absurd how inaccessible water can be when you really need it.  I would sneak a few bottles in under your coat.

The Bugle

November 15th, 2015 at 10:30 PM ^

I would try to see if you can go elsewhere. Even if your grandfather is in the 99% percentile for people his age--I don't know of many 89 year olds who would be comfortable standing on a bleacher for a couple of hours.


November 16th, 2015 at 4:07 PM ^

They used to be terrible about this but have gotten a LOT better. You may be too late, but try calling the ticket office RIGHT NOW to see what they have available. You may be able to get some that will keep you in or at least near the student section but on one of the platforms where no one can stand in front of you. It should work fine, along with the other suggestions given to you in this post. Have a great time.


November 15th, 2015 at 9:27 PM ^

Your issues are going to be parking, geting in and out of the stadium and plannning bathroom stops. Not all 89 year olds are anywhere near the same but presumably he moves a bit slower and may not be as used to crowds and close quarters as he once was.. My advice is to pay up for close parking, get there early so you can take your time getting in. I'd suggest  bathroom breaks during the game (hate to even say that) as oppsed to halftime. I also can never advise leaving early so I'd plan on staying in your seats for a few minutes after the game has ended to let the biggest part of the congestion out of the way.

Not sure where you're seats are but there is a good chance people will be standing a lot, I'd prepare him for that in advance so it doesn't come as a surprise. Good luck, I hope it goes well!


November 15th, 2015 at 9:27 PM ^

on what kind of shape your grandfather is in.  How mobile is he, how able is he to deal with large crowds, cramped spaces, and 4-ish hours of general physical discomfort?   If he's young at heart and fairly mobile, you shouldn't have any/many issues.  Park in the neighborhood just west of the stadium, have a short walk in, and enjoy the game.

if he doesn't fit that description, then, unless THE GAME is a bucket list thing, i'd probably advise against it.  The Big House is one of the least comfortable major sporting venues around, even for young healthy folks.  For a game of this magnitude, in a year like this, it could be even worse. So if that's the case, and its a bucket list thing, trade your tickets for accessible seating.

- a season ticket holder of 30+ years.


November 15th, 2015 at 9:37 PM ^

it is kind of a bucket list thing.  He's been to the Game before, but this is probably his last chance.  We're doing it.  I already tried to dissuade him politely, but he was adamant.  He really wants to do it and I really want to do it with/for him.  It's now a matter of making it as comfortable and enjoyable for him as possible.


November 15th, 2015 at 11:36 PM ^

It's cool what you and your grandpa are doing. Make it happen. If you live close by, you should go the ticket department in person and ask the questions face to face and write shit down while they talk and ask their name. If they know how serious you are, they will give you good answers.

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November 15th, 2015 at 9:34 PM ^

Pay attention to where your seats are, where the bathrooms are, how many stairs you have to climb. Get to your seats early, keep grandpa warm with seat cushion and hand, feet warmer packs.  A good coat and hat and gloves.

Proper snacks are important as well as drinks.  If Grandpa can drink powder drinks like tea, buy water and mix at your seat.

Most important of all, take advantage of the free electric cart transportation to get to and from the stadium.  Choose parking location wisely to make maximum use of the free transportation.

Call the athletic department and tell them what you plan to do, they will be very helpful.


November 15th, 2015 at 9:39 PM ^

Are your seats near enough to an exit...going up and down lots of stairs can be a problem...especially if he needs to visit the restroom...

Dress's the end of November...bring a seat cushion and paper to put feet on so they are not on the cold cement...bring a blanket for his lap...hat, gloves, scarf...

People may be standing for the whole game...they did for the state he may not see much of the game...I speak from experience...I end up watching most of it on the screens!

There was an 86 year old woman sitting in my row a few weeks ago...she did fine...her daughter did accompany her up and down the stairs (row 25)...she was pretty mobile...

It will take a while to get out at the end of the game if your seats are down low...

You should call to see if you can park somewhere close to the stadium...they do have carts to take people from the nearby lots to the gates...

Good luck...and wishing you both a great day...Go Blue!



November 15th, 2015 at 9:46 PM ^

Spoil him! Park across the street regardless.

Like everyone says depends on his condition. I took my 87 year old dad last week to the Joe to see the Wings. He is in great shape thankfully.

Best thing is to listen to stories, have fun and tell him you love him. You'll get as much out of it as he will.


November 15th, 2015 at 9:52 PM ^

89 and going to the stadium? Let's get that man a W.

Also, at 89 he was probably born in 1926, which was Fielding Yost's final year coaching Michigan. We beat OSU that year. Just in case he was born in 1925 or 1927, I checked and we beat OSU both of those years too, so he's covered.

Avon Barksdale

November 15th, 2015 at 9:50 PM ^

Also call the ticket office. My mom exchanged four tickets for seats in the handicap section right outside the entrance of the tunnel. You will be in rows 67-72. Really good view. My 80 year old grandfather thinks it is the best view in the house.


November 15th, 2015 at 10:57 PM ^

Was going to make this point as well, definitely try to take advantage of this if he is in a wheelchair or had trouble with steps as these seats are right at the level you enter so no going up or down steps.  Plus you get an actualy chair or large space for a wheelchair so it's more comfortable.


November 15th, 2015 at 9:53 PM ^

They have transportation for people who move a little slower, and I have heard that if you talk to the right folks (and are willing to be patient) they will do quite a bit to help you out.  Call the stadium

Definitely be thoughtful about where you get seats... you may have to splurge. I would recommend one close to a concourse, personally.


November 15th, 2015 at 9:53 PM ^

They are tremendously helpful. You can get shuttle service to and from your car, to the section you're sitting in. You shouldn't have any problems.

Von Burgenstein

November 15th, 2015 at 10:00 PM ^

Depending on health/ability of your grandfather, you may be able to contact the ticket office and request handicap seats.  It would make it easier to get into/exit the stadium.  I was able to do this when I was on crutches (ACL tear).  They had me mail in my tickets with a letter and then I was able to pick up new tickets at will call on day of (they would have mailed them to me, I think, but I declined).  Was able to comfortably sit in the handicap level.

Saw other comments about shuttles- can also second those.  A golf cart shuttle (twice!) saw me hobbling around outside of the stadium, offered me a ride, took me to will call on the other side of Crisler, and then took me to a friend's tailgate on the other end of the parking lot.  They're very helpful.


November 15th, 2015 at 10:12 PM ^

is 93.  Have seen countless Tigers games with him,  but I never took him to the Big House, and that is a big regret. 

You are wise to ask for advice on this.  Getting the prep right could make all the difference. Above all, enjoy it. 


November 15th, 2015 at 10:09 PM ^

As others have said, if you work through the ticket office, they should be very helpful and accommodating.  Worked for me and my pop.  I wouldn't attempt it without their help.


November 15th, 2015 at 10:10 PM ^

I often wonder how many years I'll have being able to attend Michigan games? I guess some elderly people do not have much problems going to game. I saw a couple that must of been 75-80 at the IU game and they came together but it looked like they got cold and left in the 3rd QTR.


November 15th, 2015 at 10:24 PM ^

Took my father a few years ago when he was 81. I highly recommend parking at briarwood mall and take the bus. Minimal walking. Call ticket office and see if they will do any coordinated pickup at stadium drop off which is right in front of Crisler. They may offer some sort of cart pickup from there into stadium.

The Bugle

November 15th, 2015 at 10:27 PM ^

Definitely try to get seats within a few rows of the section entrance.  My grandparents came for graduation they definitely appreciated having an easier time getting to their seats! 


November 15th, 2015 at 10:28 PM ^

Having been a volunteer helping people sit in handicap access sections… If he is in need of a wheelchair all you have to do is ask By gate 10 they will give you a wheelchair and they will give you handicap seating with three guests able to accompany him at that spot… You can also park at the golf course and there are shuttles/golf carts that will drive you right up to the is $50 to park there though

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November 15th, 2015 at 10:29 PM ^

if your concern is general safety. Any osu/UM fan that gets stupid around them will get checked quick. I've seen it. Other than that just keep in mind access to rest areas, water, whatever they may need. You'll be fine.


November 15th, 2015 at 10:30 PM ^

Temperature likely to be low - so make sure he's dressed for the weather.

Lines are insane for bathrooms at the half, make sure you map out the closest 2 bathrooms and go well clear of the half.

Otherwise, you both are winners for going to the game and prepping for it.


November 15th, 2015 at 10:34 PM ^

Since the renovation, they are much better: east side of the stadium (instead of the end zone), 40 yard line, no stairs and right at the main level entrance where there are extra people to assist, proximity to restrooms immediately on the concourse, no problem with others standing in front of him.  I've sat with a friend in a wheelchair in the old and new accommodations, it is pretty nice and usually not all that crowded.  Try to get in there.

The Mad Hatter

November 16th, 2015 at 12:32 AM ^

He grew up during the depression and WWII. He doesn't need or want any special accommodations. He's already tough as nails.

And I don't care what anyone says, if he wants to get drunk and flirt with the ladies, buy that man a beer and be a good wingman.