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5 Tips on Dining Out with an Aging Adult with Parkinson’s

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 9:00 am on

Your senior loved one may have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but this doesn’t mean he or she has to remain confined to the home. It is a good idea to go out as much as possible. Consider taking your loved one to eat at a local restaurant for lunch or dinner. As a family caregiver, this is also a great way for you to get out and enjoy the fresh air. Here are some tips to remember when taking your loved one out to eat.

1. Communicate Clearly with Wait Staff

Your loved one may have difficulty speaking that can cause confusion for the staff at the restaurant. Let the staff know your loved one will be taking his or her time when ordering food. Find out if the restaurant has a pen and pad your loved one can use if he or she wants to order independently. This can make the communication more effective. 

Socialization can be an effective way to boost cognitive health in seniors with Parkinson’s disease. For families living in Sonoma County, CA, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

2. Scope Out the Seating 

Some restaurants have high-top tables or booths only. Choose a restaurant that has comfortable seating such as chairs with armrests. This can make sitting more comfortable for your loved one and makes it easier to get in and out of the chair with little or no assistance. 

3. Make Sure There Is Parking for the Disabled

If your loved one uses a wheelchair or other mobility device, choose a restaurant that has accessible parking for the disabled. Avoid restaurants that only offer parking on the street or away from the entrance. The path to and from the restaurant entrance should be smooth and clear. If there are steps, be sure they are ramped. This can make it easier to move your loved one around. 

You can also hire a professional caregiver to assist your loved one with attending outdoor events. Sonoma County home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

4. Find Out About the Utensils Offered at the Restaurant

It may be difficult for your loved one to lift a fork, spoon, or cup. However, you can make the dining experience simpler by choosing a restaurant that modifies its policies and procedures to accommodate customers with disabilities. This includes the eating and drinking utensils offered at the restaurant. Call ahead to see if the business offers bendable straws or silverware and drinkware in various sizes to accommodate your loved one. 

5. Make Special Food Preparation Requests

If the restaurant does not allow you to make special requests for meals, do not take your loved one to this venue. Seniors with Parkinson’s may have difficulty eating and swallowing food. However, if the restaurant can cut the food up into smaller pieces, they can enjoy the meal with less difficulty. If your loved one has to follow a specific diet, let the restaurant know ahead of time.

Whether it’s Parkinson’s or other neurological diseases, caring for an aging loved one can be challenging for families, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Sonoma County Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks. To create a customized care plan for your elderly loved one, give us a call at (707) 843.4368 today.