Dementia - Experiences in shops and cafes

I recently met with a family who were struggling to find places to visit with their father who had recently been diagnosed with Dementia. A few months before he had been banned from his local supermarket due to him being disruptive on previous visits. I wondered if others have experienced this? I was saddened to hear a company had banned someone and showed lack of awareness of Dementia. However, how do staff know if someone has dementia?

Despite the many campaigns, is there still a lack of understanding?

After talking with this family, I thought I would share some tips when going out and about with a loved one living with Dementia:

Talk to local shops you know your loved one will visit on their own. Maybe even give a photo which they can keep in the office in case there are any issues.

There are identify schemes that will hold a source of information in case of emergencies. They come as bracelets, necklaces or cards in a wallet

If going to cafes and restaurants, talk to the staff when you arrive, or even call ahead. You can request a quieter table and they will prioritise your meal if you ask and they have enough notice.

Maybe check places out in advance - check the facilities, parking, quiet times to visit

Check to see if there are any discounts for older people or people with disabilities.

Go careful, if visiting old haunts. Some people living with Dementia aren't able to tolerate noise or very busy places.

Be mindful of how long your relative or friend is able to tolerate being away from their home environment. You may only be able to do short trips.

I hope some of the above tips help and I would be interested to hear other peoples experiences.

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11 Replies

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  • There are a couple of schemes. I've been a "Dementia Friend" for some years. Little did I know at the time how much I'd call upon it. Also "Dementia Friendly Businesses" with some sort of label in the window. As much as the behaviour may not be intrinsically their fault there are times when its unacceptable in public. I worked in a dementia care for a while. The residents were taken to the village panto. Great idea - except they were put near the loos at the back by the door. So whenever the door opened and a blast of cold air came in the blue air was unacceptable in a family environment and they had to leave. It's not just dementia. There's a guy near me with PTSD who goes around a local park frightening kids. He's harmless but neither they nor their parents know that.

    You have some good tips there. I'm taking my mum to regular places where the staff now know her and she's comfortable - therefore relaxed even if she doesn't remember why. I agree short and sweet is good.

  • I'm pleased you have found places to go and enjoy each other's company. It certainly helps when you get to know staff and they you.

    Good points about other conditions to, thank you

  • I don't know if staff can be expected to know whether an individual patron has dementia. However, as a patron, I would never bring along anyone who recently had been disruptive, whether it was a child, a drunk, a person with Alzheimer's or my best friend.

  • It's a difficult one for staff Jaykay, I agree. All we can do is keep raising awareness.

    I

  • Staff are not expect to if you have Dementia but if you are having difficulties at the till and I'm very slow maybe I don't understand because sometimes if people speak to me and I hear you BUT the words do not have any sort meaning to me it means nothing to me because my brain cannot understand what is said and as my wife tells me, I try to fill in the blanks lol with any words I can think of lol, sometimes if somewhere is very busy and I started to push my way out because I was scared and I just had to get out, it's a horrid feeling but at least I recognised it.

  • I have Dementia and can't help wondering why anyone would want to lock us away, maybe take some official paper work, leaflets an such, you can get them from The main charity and they should be free.

    Sometimes we all have funny turns lol, but you know how much we hurt inside when people don't understand what it is like to have Dementia, personally, to me, I am terrified and I cry each day and nothing and no one can help us, my wife and my little girl called Eris, and I have grown up sons, one of whom I will never see him again but he knows I love him, the same as all my children, my little princess doesn't understand why daddy had to go and live alone, I still get complete care from my wife who I love so much and she cries every day too but no one can help us. I'm terrified my little girl will one day run to me and I won't know who she is. I'm crying now but one can help, I'm in my cage fastened at the top and I'm sinking but there are hundreds of people there and no one has the key.

  • Philip, thank you sharing something so personal and giving insight into how it is for people living with this cruel condition.

    The poem below is so moving and a powerful message

  • If you look on eBay you can find rubber bands which say , DEMENTIA SUFFERER, BUT PEOPLE NEED TO BE AWARE, Dementia is now the number one killer in the U.K.

    DEMENTIA FREINDS is a great place to start, please look after Dementia sufferers because it doesn't take enemies and it doesn't care how old you are, me I'm now 58 and I've had this for maybe 5/6 years but I know it's coming to get me, or you.

  • This is from the person named at the bottom, please read it.

    PLEASE DONT PITY ME

    Please dont pity me because i have dementia

    What do you see when you look into my eyes?

    Do you see a blank stare, a sorrowful face?

    And yet ? You dont see what i see........................

    I see my childhood friends, playing abundantly

    I see my wonderful mum and Dad guiding me in life,

    My brothers and sisters are still young as we play in the garden

    The town where i was born hasn't changed a bit,

    The school still stands were i went

    On the park we spent so many hours on , the gates are still open

    I can still smell the Forest we played in

    The food tastes just the same as it did,

    And the sun is still as hot.................

    Please dont Pity me because i have dementia

    Just because i am regressing isn't such a bad thing,

    Where i am now, i have no worries, no bills, no expenses,

    Where i am now is a happy place,

    I am sorry if i dont remember you as who you are,

    But if i remember you as my sister, or mum,

    That is a huge compliment,so please dont be sad,

    Be happy for me, after all........................

    i am getting a Second chance at visiting my CHILDHOOD

    HOW MANY CAN SAY THAT ???

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Cc Norrms Mc Namara,

    ( Founder of Global Purple Angel dementia awareness campaign )

    purpleangel-global.com/

  • That's so sad, Philip almost brought me to tears thinking of my Mum who had dementia,. I remember many times when she would say something inappropriate and though people knew she had dementia they still couldn't seem to understand that she didn't know what she was saying, dementia is a terrible thing and it will come to most of us or someone in our family, so please if you know someone who is suffering try to understand as you would for any other disease, it could be you next or someone you love. Take care

  • Philip -- Thank you for expressing how you feel.

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