When a parent has dementia, dining out poses a challenge.
It’s not always avoidable, however. Your mom really wants to attend her granddaughter’s wedding dinner. Her best friend is having a birthday gathering at a local restaurant. You’re not sure it’s a good idea.
It could be a baby shower, graduation dinner, or family reunion. If she is eager to attend, forcing your mom to stay home may upset her. Here are four ways to make sure the evening is a success.
Talk to the Host in Advance
Make sure the host knows your mom has dementia. Going to a crowded restaurant can be stressful when you have dementia. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible for your mom to have a good time. If the host knows in advance, it’s easier to make arrangements that will ease your mom’s stress during the event.
Carefully Pick Seating and Leave Room for an Escape
See if it can be arranged that your mom has a corner table away from noisier attendees. Noise can make for a very stressful evening out. A corner table nearer a door may work best.
By being near a door, if your mom needs to leave for a few minutes, her escape route is right there. In inclement weather, she may need a quiet indoor space to go to. Talk to the restaurant’s event planner to see if there is a sitting area that will work for her. If the weather’s good, she can head outside to regroup. A bench outside that’s away from crowds will work.
Do a Trial Run
Take your mom to the restaurant beforehand. Take her at a quieter time of day when she’s at her best. Enjoy a meal, if possible, or simply have the host give a tour. Take a video if it’s allowed and replay it often. The more familiar the setting is, the easier the event will be for your mom.
Be Prepared to Leave Early
Your mom may start out strong and become agitated after an hour or two. Arrive as close to the time the meal will be served as possible. Once the meal’s over, your mom is free to leave. Make sure she knows that she can leave when she wants to once you’ve had your dinner.
If you cannot leave, have an elder care provider available to bring your mom back home and spend time with her. Caregivers can drive your mom to and from events and businesses. They are companions who can take your mom for a ride or play games with her at home. She gains a friend while you can stay out and enjoy the evening.
Discuss your family’s needs with an elder care agency. They can walk you through the range of services and pricing information. Call now to get started.