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How to Handle Eating Out with Seniors Who Have Parkinson’s

By Nick Paciello, 9:00 am on

Dining out can pose some unique challenges for seniors with Parkinson’s. With a little help from conscientious caregivers, seniors can still eat at restaurants and enjoy a high quality of life.

If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Henderson senior care. Services our caregivers provide include transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.

Here are a few tips on eating out with seniors who have Parkinson’s. 

Choose a Wheelchair-Accessible Restaurant

If you’re going to a new restaurant, call beforehand to make sure it is equipped with appropriate bathroom facilities and accessible seating. You may also want to inquire whether the food is served at the table or buffet-style. Preparation is one of the best ways to ensure your loved one has a safe, fun dining experience. 

Dine at the Right Time

When eating out with a senior with Parkinson’s, avoid peak dining times. If your loved one uses a wheelchair, going when the restaurant is not busy provides more space to move around. It also ensures the staff has enough time to meet your dining party’s specific needs.

Ask About Parking

When accompanying seniors who use wheelchairs or mobility devices, caregivers should make sure there is accessible parking nearby. Call the restaurant, inquire about the available parking, and ask whether they have a parking lot. If street parking is the only available option, ask whether the street has curb cuts, which make it easier to use wheelchairs. You should also ask which entryway to use. 

Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your loved one needs transportation to social events or assistance with daily activities. Henderson respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

Find Out About Seating Arrangements

Many seniors with Parkinson’s have certain dining preferences. If they use a wheelchair, they should consider dining at restaurants that have tables with a height of 28 inches or more. Seniors who don’t use wheelchairs may prefer to sit in a chair with armrests. This gives them a place to rest their hands and makes it easier to rise from the chair without assistance. When making reservations, make sure to ask for all the necessary accommodations. 

Get Assistance from the Staff

There are many things the restaurant staff can do to make the dining experience more pleasurable for seniors with Parkinson’s. When your loved one places an order, the waiter should allow ample time for him or her to speak. Some seniors may need a pen and paper to communicate. The restaurant should be considerate of this need and provide a pad and writing tool if necessary. The restaurant staff should also be willing to make accommodations regarding food and beverages. If your loved one orders a meat dish, ask the staff to pre-cut the food. To minimize spilling, ask the waiter to fill cups halfway rather than all the way to the brim. Bendable straws are also a useful way to prevent spills.

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Henderson, NV, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. If your aging loved one needs assistance with daily activities, give us a call at (702) 527-7723.