How can cafes, restaurants, pubs and hotels better support people affected by dementia?

HarrietD

Administrator
Staff member
Apr 29, 2014
5,798
London
Hi everyone,

Our Programme Partnerships team is putting together a guide similar to this one to encourage cafes, restaurants, pubs and hotels to support people living with and affected by dementia. This will help these businesses to support customers and employees living with/caring for someone, to make sure they are accessible.

The team would like to hear your experiences as a customer both good and bad, what they did well, what they could have done better, how it made you feel, and what you want these businesses to know and do to support people living with dementia.

Please share with us any good or bad experiences you have from going out to eat or drink at cafés, restaurants, pubs and hotels.

You can either leave a comment, or fill in the survey the team has created below. It's very short with only 4 core questions to answer.

Thanks :)

 

Christy21

Registered User
Oct 9, 2016
10
My wife has rare dementia PCA, so sight and navigation are very limited. Our worst experience was at Jamie Oliver’s near St Paul’s. The restaurant was fully glazed so bright. The stairs were all painted black so difficult for her and the ladies toilets worse. Cubicle doors were black, lighting low and between doors were mirrors. I know architects are trained to use contrasting colours so this whole design was to make it trendy, at the expense of disabled people.
 

Skeet

New member
Oct 20, 2019
7
I just finished a book called "I Can't Remember." It's written from the eyes and mind of someone with Dementia. It was incredibly enlightening. I highly recommend it. I got it on Amazon.com. The author is Jo Dorn.
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
7,045
Bristol
I filled in the survey, but the biggest problem we have is with C struggling to follow a conversation at the best of times and some places have the music so loud it is hard enough with out dementia.
 

cumbria35

Registered User
Apr 24, 2017
70
I filled in the survey, but the biggest problem we have is with C struggling to follow a conversation at the best of times and some places have the music so loud it is hard enough with out dementia.
We also have this problem, also not always disabled toilets which are easily accessible.
 

safray

Registered User
Feb 2, 2017
35
I find most situations difficult. Recently my loved one keeps receiving fone calls on his mobile fone, a fone just for me to keep contact when often wandering away. Have googled these numbers & find some quote"dangerous" others from "China" Have tried the help line but without any success. Has his health problem become a target for a big con?
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,164
Victoria, Australia
Bathrooms!!!!!!!!!!

I recently came across a super modern toilet facility in a refurbished pub. The water turned on aotomatically when you put your hands under the tap and was timed to turn off. What surprised me was that a hand dryer was incorporated into the tap and came on when the water went off. There was nothing to indicate how it worked and I am sure that PWD might find it quite confusing.

In another, the toilets and the washbasins were separated by a door. An elderly lady couldn't find her way out from the toilet area and was getting quite panicky till I assisted her.

Automated taps, dryers, soap dispensers might be the 'latest' mod cons but are not easily accessed by PWD.
Disabled toilets are usually designed for people with a physical disability and not necessarily dementia friendly.
 

tembo

New member
Feb 22, 2019
2
The biggest problem we have found is with cafe, restaurant toilet signing. Even if it is clear for finding the toilet there is rarely an EXIT sign on the door with directions back to the seated area. There are often store cupboards or one comes out into a corridor and my husband can get very frightened and disorientated.
 

mickeyplum

Registered User
Feb 22, 2018
142
My husband (91) eats smaller meals these days. In pubs or restuarants even a child-meal, or a bowl of soup are now too large and over-facing for him, and for me too.
Sandwiches are are no-no - too big and chewy. The plateful of salad alongside.gets ignored.
Our lunches out now consist of a portion of chips to share, followed by a sticky toffee pudding to share.
It would help if caterers would offer portions even smaller than a child's meal or light-bite. Maybe call it a 'Senior's Tasty' or something, and serve it on a smaller plate.
 

Spamar

Registered User
Oct 5, 2013
7,475
Suffolk
I have the same problem, mickeyplum. Most meals I have out are far too large for me. I get over it by having a starter, then a pudding which may be something like ice cream if I’m full, or something larger if I think I will be able to eat it. I do tell people I have a small appetite and please serve accordingly, and they do!
Earlier this year I dieted, and found it easier as I went along. Just thought my tummy was getting smaller! Then people started lecturing me on eating more! However, found out I had an illness that caused the appetite to get less. Got my own back on some people! Have sorted things out, but the solution was worse than not eating much!
 

Casbow

Registered User
Sep 3, 2013
1,004
Colchester
My husband is no longer alive but when he was we used to have lunch out if we went to town. About once a fortnight. The most difficult thing was that as soon as the lunch arrived he would say he wanted the toilet. I had to leave the table to take him there and then persuade him to go in, He immediately would turn round and come out again. I think it was because there was probaly one or more other men in there. Could there not be toilet for people that need to take some one in with them, but not into a disabled toilet. They are larger and look different and although we had a key for them my husband seemed a bit scared. I suppose it would cost to much and maybe not enough room to put another loo in a lot of places.. If i could have gone in with him it would have been ok. Don't really know what the answer is. We had to stop going out anywhere to eat.x
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
4,762
Nottinghamshire
When I took my dad out for a meal toilets were an issue. I always used to choose a table near the loos so that I could see dad when he came out and he could see me.

He did once wander into the ladies when I wasn't watching though...
 

Nigel_2172

Registered User
Aug 8, 2017
42
Shropshire
One problem we used to be vary aware of (not specifically dementia-related) was tables at which is was not possible to sit in a wheelchair. Either the edge of the table would not allow knees to get under the table or there would be legs which would prevent getting the chair close enough.
 

David from Suffolk

New member
Mar 16, 2019
1
For my wife is she does not remember what a dish is, so I find I order for her, and it is usually chicken , and comes with to much of everything in the form a veges etc. She gives up without trying it. I have tried children's portions but have found the quality is usually very poor. I have now had to admit without family help we rarely go out for a meal now days
 

Splashing About

Registered User
Oct 20, 2019
434
Don’t look confused when we ask for drinks to be made cool enough to drink straight away.
Tables you can get a wheelchair under
Space to manoeuvre a wheelchair
Quiet area
Waiting staff who are patient
Toilets large enough for wheelchair and two people
Understanding of need for toilet at inappropriate times e.g. at any point with food being served.
Choking...know when to let me deal with it or when to help
Extra napkins should the need arise
 

kswitz

Registered User
Apr 11, 2017
1
My wife has young onset Alzheimer's and is easily confused. We went to a cafe, funnily enough it was next to our doctors surgery, we ordered breakfast, whilst waiting sh said she wanted something else from the counter, I went up to buy it. When I came back to my seat my wife was in s right state, distressed. What had happened is that the breakfast had been brought out, the woman asked her which was hers, my wife couldn't remember, the woman got all annoyed, just dumped the food down and walked off. I had seen none of this. I guess the staff need s lesson in dealing with people suffering dementia!
 

Thursday

New member
Jun 20, 2019
7
Since getting dementia my mother has no patience waiting for food in a restaurant. So, we go to a tapas bar. Nibbles arrive very quickly followed gradually by more little dishes. Not being confronted with a giant plate of food and having a selection of easy to handle finger food of varying colours, textures and flavours, keeps Mum happily grazing.
 

Thursday

New member
Jun 20, 2019
7
Don’t look confused when we ask for drinks to be made cool enough to drink straight away.
Tables you can get a wheelchair under
Space to manoeuvre a wheelchair
Quiet area
Waiting staff who are patient
Toilets large enough for wheelchair and two people
Understanding of need for toilet at inappropriate times e.g. at any point with food being served.
Choking...know when to let me deal with it or when to help
Extra napkins should the need
For my wife is she does not remember what a dish is, so I find I order for her, and it is usually chicken , and comes with to much of everything in the form a veges etc. She gives up without trying it. I have tried children's portions but have found the quality is usually very poor. I have now had to admit without family help we rarely go out for a meal now days
Try a tapas bar at a quiet time. Works well for my mum.
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
702
When my Mum was still able to go out form her CH, the local branch of a coffee chain were always very accommodating. I have visible and invisible disabilities and the staff were always helpful and used to carry over our tray of coffee. I also felt they made it a welcoming environment as Mummy's behaviour began to get a bit eccentric. We never felt judged or unwelcome. Sadly, this isn't the case everywhere
 

Shazza131

New member
Sep 18, 2019
4
I often take my mum out for lunch to various cafes or pubs, one of the main problems we find is the background music its to loud, my mum is trying to take in the different things and struggles with the music. I often ask to be moved somewhere quieter but dont often get moved.
I dont really want to take her to the same place all the time x