Before taking your loved one who has dementia out for dinner, you should consider factors that will make the dinner comfortable for them. Choosing the right environment for them is a responsibility that shouldn’t be overlooked. According to experts from the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program at the University of Waterloo, search for small and quiet restaurants. The place must not have a lot of distractions that might overwhelm the patient. If overwhelmed, the dementia patient might get agitated and stressed.
The Alzheimer’s Association calculated that 720,000 Florida seniors may acquire Alzheimer’s by 2025. To prepare for the mentioned calculation, Central Florida will pave the way for a dementia-friendly dining experience. Caregivers won’t lose their freedom to still go out and eat good food. Town House Restaurant in Oviedo provides a safe space for both caregiver and patient. People bringing a dementia patient will be escorted to a separate restaurant area. The restaurant is divided by a curtain that muffles the noise from the main dining room. Windows also have blinds that help dim lights in the room.
A husband and wife recently visited the restaurant; Roy Scherer assisted his wife’s wheelchair as they found a good table. Roy’s wife, Judy Scherer, is a vascular dementia patient, and they love to spend time at the Town House Restaurant. Their experience in the restaurant is all out great and comfortable. The staff is trained to serve dementia patients and are informed about what to do once a certain situation arises. It’s great that the restaurant offered separate training for waiters so they could properly handle orders from dementia patients.
“In a restaurant where that wouldn’t be known,” Roy Scherer says, “they would come up, for example, to Judy and say, ‘Well, the special today is French toast, and you can have pancakes, you like …’ and this is all going right by. She doesn’t know what day it is, what year it is, may or may not know exactly who I am.”
In the restaurant, the couple met up with their friend Dennis Dulniak. He was the founder of Central Florida Dementia-Friendly Dining. His advocacy was the fruit of his love for his late wife, Nancy, who also had Alzheimer’s and died last year.
The restaurant staff was trained by their friend, Toni Gitles. They do not only employ these practices and training in Town House Restaurant. Three restaurants currently support the practice, including Patio Grill at Sanford and The Meatball Stoppe in Orlando. Isabella Morgia di Vicari is a chef and the co-owner of The Meatball Stoppe. She manages the restaurant with her husband, and their experience with Alzheimer’s in the family pushed them to participate in Dulniak’s vision.
“And for them to sing in our restaurant and enjoy eating spaghetti and meatballs or a meatball sub or eggplant parmigiana or whatever this is,” Morgia says, “It just brings them joy.”
These people are creating a path that brings a better experience for people battling dementia, allowing them to enjoy life’s pleasures and spend time outside with loved ones as they usually do. It’s nice to finally see places adjusting their services for people who think their medical condition hinders them from spending a lovely time outside. Thankfully, Dennis Dulniak and the people behind the movement have created the practice, and it will provide better awareness and safer places to eat even outside Central Florida.Whizzco