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Dementia Action Week: Quick Tips to Cater for Diners with Dementia

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850,000 people in the UK are affected by dementia. Of those, 1 in 3 report feeling lonely and isolated. This Dementia Action Week, what can you do to help?

What is Dementia Action Week?

Dementia Action Week is a yearly campaign run by the Alzheimer’s Society that seeks to make the lives of those living with dementia easier. This year, the charity is asking restaurants, schools, workplaces and the wider community to make small changes to better cater for those with the disease.
Dementia Action Week runs from 20-26th May.

Shop dementia-friendly catering supplies now

What can you do to help?

Despite the huge number of those living with dementia in the UK, stigma around the illness still exists. In a recent study by the Alzheimer’s Society, 27% of sufferers reported that they didn’t feel part of their community, with 25% saying they felt people actively avoided them after their diagnosis.

With the number of sufferers only set to rise, reversing this trend is more important than ever. But what can you do to make a difference?

Read on for quick tips on doing your bit.

1. Host a dementia-friendly coffee morning or lunch

It might sound simple, but with such a startling number of dementia sufferers reporting feeling lonely and isolated, hosting a dementia-inclusive event just once a week can make a big difference to those affected by the disease.

The Alzheimer’s Society agrees, saying: “Even in the later stages of dementia, keeping in touch means a lot. Seeing friends and loved ones brings feelings of comfort to those with dementia, and the ‘emotional memory’ remains with them long after the memory of the visit may have gone.”

Give sufferers a safe, understanding space to meet up with friends and family, and you’ll go some way to making them feel part of the community again.

And it’s not just the sufferers themselves who’ll benefit. Dementia-inclusive events give the carers, family members and friends of those living with dementia a chance to meet others in the same situation.

Not only can this help them to form support networks with others who know how difficult caring for someone with the disease can be, but it can also be a welcome break from the – often isolating – reality of being a carer.

Put up posters and shout about it online, and word about your dementia-friendly event is sure to get out there. Looking for more tips on promoting events like this? Check out our handy article on how to market your business.

2. Make dining easier

Dining can be difficult for those living with dementia. Issues with two-handed cutlery, problems identifying the edge of a plate and a weakened grip can all make it a struggle. But tailor-made dementia-friendly crockery, cups and more can ease some of the pain points dementia sufferers often face.

Work Olympia Heritage’s plates and bowls into your existing crockery collection and you’ll give your diners a little boost by allowing them to feed themselves and maintain a little of their independence.

Each piece features deep sides to make food scooping easier – ideal for one-handed eating - and is finished in a bright, dementia-friendly colour that makes the edge of the plate easier to spot.

Not only this, but recent research has shown that bright coloured plates can encourage dementia sufferers to eat more, so you'll be improving the dining experience on two fronts.

Pair them with two-handed mugs that reduce the risk of spills, and your crockery collection is now inclusive. It may only be a small change, but it’s little, everyday things like being able to eat unassisted that can make a world of difference to those with dementia.

Check out our whole dementia-friendly tableware range here.

3. Educate your staff (and yourself!)

Dementia is a complex disease. And the ins-and-outs of it still aren’t understood by the public at large. This can make catering for the needs of diners with dementia difficult. “There are clearly still misconceptions and feelings of awkwardness around saying the wrong thing to someone with dementia,” the Alzheimer’s Society says.

So educating yourself – and your staff – can be a quick step towards clearing up these misconceptions, and turning your business into an inclusive one.

This could be something as simple as running a quick training session on the needs of diners with dementia, hosting a talk by local carers on the struggles they face when dining out with loved ones affected by the disease, or organising a volunteering trip to a local care home where your staff can learn first-hand what dementia sufferers need.

There’s plenty of resources online that serve as a great starting point. The Alzheimer’s Society even has a list of tips from sufferers themselves, including: “Talk to me, smile, be patient and give me time to reply.” Make the most of the resources out there and help break the stigma.

Small changes, big difference

Make some of the simple changes above and you’ll soon turn your business into a truly dementia-friendly one. You’ll be doing your bit to tackle the isolation sufferers can feel, and you might even become a hub for carers looking for a safe space to dine out.

What do you think has changed this year to make catering for diners with dementia easier? Have you made any innovations to make your business more inclusive? Let us know in the comments below.


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