Conquering Meal Time Anxiety for Those With Alzheimer’s

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 www.pphfamily.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *