Going out with a person who lives with Dementia
Why going out with a person who lives with Dementia can be a challenging experience?
People living with Dementia or Alzheimer’s are a little bit special, but they have to be treated the same like everybody. Despite their condition, they are humans and have needs. Like everybody, they will really enjoy a day out at the restaurant. In this article, you can find tips which could help you to understand how to react and act when you are going out to a restaurant with a person who has dementia or Alzheimer`s. It is really hard to see that your loved ones begin to go back away from things they used to do before. Their level of independence is not the same anymore.
Do some research
First of all, try to do some researches about their favourite food, maybe a special place where they used to have lunch out. Think about the location of the restaurant – is it difficult/easy to get in and out from there? You need to also think about the noise level. Try to book a table when the restaurant is less busy; call and tell them about the situation and they might help you. Having this kind of day out, you need to make sure that everything is set up according to their needs. Being surrounded by noise, people with Dementia or Alzheimer`s can have unusual reactions, as their way of precepting things is different than ours. Another important thing, try to find a table close to the bathroom in case if they want to use the toilet. Avoid long distances and stairs, as many accidents occur if they have to access them.
During the meal
During meal time try and find subjects in which they can be interested in – memories, family, hobbies, what they did for a living; all about “Me and My Life Story”. Help them to choose from the menu if you see they are struggling. Sometimes they are not able to read – give them choices, the opportunity to enjoy a day out. Nutrition is one of the most important parts in people life. Poor nutrition can go to serious health problems like mobility, mental health, skin condition.
You can also tell the waiter/waitress about any special needs that person might have: special type bowl, adapted cutlery, a napkin, glass. Things which you think are really important for yourself might be for them as well. Try to engage them in conversations; ask them if they are enjoying the food, if they need something else. Maybe they will not tell you or they are shy; give them the opportunity to choose something else. You can also tell the waiter/waitress to fill in the glass (juice, water, wine). Before the main course ask for starters. In many restaurants,
seasonings are not used. Ask them if they would like to use salt or pepper or something else which they might like. It will make a big difference.
Due to their condition, diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer`s, they can easily become agitated or restless. Maybe be they will not be able to verbally express themselves, but their body language will tell you. If you see that they are not comfortable, ask them if they would like to use the toilet or maybe to go out and take some fresh air, it will help a lot.
It is all about the dining experience, making memories and living a normal life even if they are special. Treat them nice.