Anxiety for Those With Alzheimer's | PPh
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Conquering Meal Time Anxiety for Those With Alzheimer’s

Posted on: Nov 25, 2014

The hostess seats you at your preferred table in your favorite restaurant.  She hands you the menu and you scan it for Chicken Parmesan, your favorite.  The server takes your order. It arrives and you enjoy a pleasant, relaxing meal.

Chapters dining croppedFor people with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other memory disorders, ordering food from a printed menu can be a frustrating and anxious experience.  They may no longer be able to visualize the food they would like to eat from the printed word on the menu.

In PPh’s Personal Care Chapter’s Program, residents received meals in a private, cheery dining room, by ordering from a printed menu.

“We found that this made meal time very stressful for residents,” said Mary Ellen Keller, Director of Resident Life.  “We knew that we needed to make a change.”

Mary Ellen and Certified Dementia Practitioners Bridget Klotz, Gabrielle Lazzaro and Kathy Nucero, began researching other options.  They especially liked the program that Fairmount Homes in Lancaster County offered to its residents with memory disorders.

PPh adapted their model when it created the new, Table Side Service for Chapters residents in cooperation with Personal Care and Dining Services.

“Menus provided too much information,” said Kathy Nucero, Independent and Personal Care Activity Director.  “With table side service they can look, smell and recognize food. It’s another way to offer them the opportunity to make choices.”

Here’s how it works.  A portable buffet is rolled next to the dining table so that residents may see and smell the selections.  Staff tell residents about the menu options, allow them to make their selections, and serve them.

Additionally, Table Side Service has led to increased appetite and weight gain for Chapters residents.

Chapters’ Table Side Service is a simple, low-cost way to ensure choice and better quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other memory disorders.

For more information about The Philadelphia Protestant Home, call 215-697-8000 or go to

What Residents Say

"In my nine years at PPH, I’ve grown to like it very much. At first, I felt like a stranger and then as I began to talk to people, we increasingly became good friends. A way to meet people is to join clubs. I’m now part of the PPH Auxiliary. I love helping with their flea markets because you never know what you can find. Recently, I’ve joined an evening quilting class. I love that I can continue to enjoy my life outside of PPH while experiencing the offers here.…especially the pool! Everything is just so convenient.

– Lucille Hite, Independent Living resident

What Families Say

"My mom is sooo happy at PPH, I can’t even describe it in strong enough words. She’s met so many new friends and these ladies do EVERYTHING together! She sees Dad every day in Pathways, but can have her life too. She’s gone to so many activities and I think I’ve already been to Scoops with her at least 15 times. She loves the dining room and Bistro too. My sister, Ilene, and I are so delighted that Mom is happy.......Wow, it feels like Mom’s been there about 2 years—but it’s only 2 months!! That’s how comfortable and natural it feels for her – and for all of us.

– Rhonda Frenkel, daughter of resident Bernice Segal

Philadelphia Protestant Home