Tips for Dining Out – Staying for Dessert
With the right preparation, it is possible to enjoy a nice meal out with a loved one with dementia. Choose a restaurant that your loved one is familiar with. You can provide a special card to the wait staff to discretely inform them that you are dining with someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Take the following into consideration to make the most of your dining experience.
Evaluate the restaurant environment:
- Noise levels
- Waiting times-make reservations when possible
- Review the menu online and decide what to eat before visiting
- Is the service quick-is the staff helpful
- Do the restrooms accommodate your loved ones needs
- Are restrooms easily accessible
- Ask what the busiest times are-schedule your visit during slower times of the day
- Check out the seating-make sure your loved one will be comfortable throughout the meal
While at the restaurant:
- Ask to be seated in a quiet area to avoid over-stimulation.
- Discuss the menu and provide 2-3 choices they like. You can also show pictures of the entrée if available.
- Order a finger food appetizer to keep engaged
- Maintain an engaging conversation with your loved one
- Pack a “Just in Case” bag including utensils, personal care items, extra change of clothing, engagement items – photo book, puzzles, and magazines. This may also include items your loved one enjoys that offer comfort.
When you have found restaurants that offer friendly service and a wonderful dining experience, frequent more often and be sure to order dessert.