Going to a restaurant can be an enjoyable experience for families with dementia, with tastes and smells of different meals helping to evoke memories, and an opportunity for families to create new ones. It’s good to plan beforehand.
Most restaurants provide the opportunity to view and download an online menu. Having a look at home at what meals are available allows choices at a slower pace, and can remove any pressure from having to decide at the restaurant. Some restaurants even give the opportunity to pre-order meals for a set time, which can help reduce waiting times.
“Have a think about when the best time for to go out might be. Evenings are usually busier so a lunchtime slot may be a bit calmer.”
Many restaurants and bars are accommodating of the needs of people with dementia. A good idea is to ring up the restaurants in advance and let them know that a person with dementia is planning on coming and what options are available.
Watford (London) has recently opened up a restaurant for people with dementia and their carers – the ‘Forget Me Not’ restaurant includes staff who have educated themselves about dementia so that families can have as smooth an experience as possible, such as by narrowing the list of options they have when ordering the food.
There are also many lunch clubs for people with dementia and their carers, which can be a great way to socialise with others. Your local municipality or council can let you know what is available in the area. Many charities also run lunch clubs.