Enjoying a dinner out with your loved one may come with a few challenges if he or she has dementia. However, it is possible to provide a positive social experience by keeping the symptoms in mind.
In addition to dementia, seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elderly care. Naples families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. As you prepare for your dinner out together, use these tips to keep your loved one comfortable while managing his or her dementia symptoms.
1. Choose a Favorite Spot
Familiarity is an important factor for easing dementia-related anxiety. For a first outing, consider going to one of your loved one’s favorite restaurants where you know he or she will quickly settle in. On subsequent visits, your loved one can benefit from having a waitstaff that is accustomed to his or her condition. Frequently dining at the same place also allows a senior to meet other regulars, and the dinner can be turned into a fun-filled social outing.
2. Ask for a Booth
The type of seating you choose for your dinner also provides your loved one with additional comfort. Booths give you the option of sitting side by side with your loved one if you fear he or she may wander. Alternatively, you can sit directly across from your loved one so you can provide visual and tactile reassurance as you talk. For example, holding your loved one’s hand while making eye contact may soothe him or her if the restaurant gets busy or loud.
3. Reduce Waiting Anxiety
Ideally, you should visit a restaurant during a known downtime. However, you may find yourself caught by surprise when dining in unfamiliar territory. If possible, try calling ahead and explaining your situation since many dining venues can accommodate your needs by having a table waiting and an understanding server. If you’re still stuck waiting, ask your loved one to read you items on the menu, or bring along a tote bag with activities he or she enjoys. Even showing pictures from your smartphone can keep your loved one occupied while you wait for your food to arrive.
Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs 24-hour care, Naples, FL, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home such as when dining out.
4. Consider Outdoor Dining
Fresh air and sunshine can make a big difference in a senior’s attitude. Your loved one may benefit from getting a boost of vitamin D that helps regulate his or her mood. Eating outside also helps give you something to talk about with your loved one. Observe a bird eating a treat off the sidewalk or enjoy watching kids play on a nearby playground. While many restaurants offer patio seating today and it may take a little compromising, but the effort is worth seeing your loved one smile.
5. Bring Comfort Supplies
Your loved one may balk at going to the restaurant’s bathrooms. Therefore, it is smart to bring a change of clothes that can be used if your loved one accidentally spills drinks or food on his or her current outfit. Bringing a blanket or light jacket for warmth, a favorite eating utensil, or medications for indigestion ensures you have what you need to keep your loved one comfortable if he or she starts to exhibit challenging behaviors.
Many families have no experience in specialized home care for seniors, which can make life a bit more challenging when an elderly loved one is diagnosed with dementia. The Naples, FL, dementia care experts at Home Care Assistance are here to help. We designed a program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which uses mentally engaging activities to slow the progression of dementia, and all our live-in and respite caregivers are expertly trained in dementia care. To learn about our patent approach to dementia care, call (239) 449-4701 today.