5 Tips for Eating in a Restaurant with a Senior with Dementia

By Matt Rogers, 9:00 am on

Everyone enjoys dining out once in a while, and taking your loved one with dementia to a restaurant is a great way to help him or her overcome eating challenges. Yet, it is also normal to be apprehensive about how your loved one will handle eating out with a crowd.

Whether its dementia or other cognitive impairment, caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Pembroke Pines Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

When planning your dinner outing, use these tips to help your loved one get accustomed to going out in public so regular restaurant meals can become an enjoyable part of his or her normal routine.

1. Choose an Old Favorite

Taking your loved one to a familiar place will make it easier to settle into a new environment. Pick a restaurant your loved one has enjoyed in the past, as there will definitely be something he or she likes on the menu. Make sure you go there on a regular basis. Getting to know the staff will make each experience better since they will know how to cater to your loved one’s needs.

2. Bring Dining Aids

Seniors with dementia often have difficulty with basic eating tasks such as keeping food on the plate. Don’t be afraid to bring along the items that make it easier for your loved one to eat. For example, plate guards, utensil grippers, and tilted bowls can all be brought for your loved one to use at a restaurant. Not only will these things help your loved one avoid embarrassing spills, but they will add another level of familiarity to the meal away from home.

3. Plan the Arrival Carefully

If it has been a while since you have visited the restaurant, call ahead to ask about their downtimes during the week. Often, this will be in the later morning just before the lunch crowd starts leaving work. Going during the downtime can reduce the amount of waiting, which can ease your loved one’s anxiety. You can also call ahead to make reservations, or just ask the staff if they can help hasten the visit so everything goes off without a hitch.

4. Keep the Conversation Flowing

It can be easy to get lost in your thoughts while you eat, but this is a real opportunity for you and your senior loved one to bond. Talking throughout your meal strengthens cognitive functioning and helps your loved one stay more grounded in reality. Have a few conversation starters in mind for when things start to lag, and ask your loved one plenty of open-ended questions to keep the conversation flowing.

Socialization is an effective way to boost cognitive health in aging adults with dementia. For seniors living in Pembroke Pines, FL, hourly care can be a wonderful solution when they need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

5. Prepare a Bag of Tricks

Hitting the town with a senior who has dementia typically requires bringing some extra items along. In addition to the usual change of clothes, tuck a music player and headphones into your bag. A photo album, a simple craft, or even some games on your smartphone are all easy activities you can pull out if you encounter a wait or need to distract your loved one from a sudden amount of noise.

If your elderly loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, trust in the Pembroke Pines dementia care experts at Home Care Assistance to help him or her manage the condition while continuing to live at home. In addition to high-quality dementia care, we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (954) 374-8273 and create a tailored care plan for your aging loved one. 

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