Learn How To Help People With Dementia Have Positive Public Experiences


Like other people, people with dementia need social interactions. However, people with dementia and their companions sometimes feel uncomfortable going to restaurants, stores or other public places.


Public interactions can be more positive if the person with dementia:

  • Helps decide what to do and when

  • Is not rushed

  • Avoids very busy or loud places

  • Goes to familiar places and does familiar activities

  • Writes down what groceries, food, drink or other items they want before leaving home

  • Has someone who knows them help with challenging interactions

  • Can find a quiet place or leave if they become overwhelmed or tired

Companions can help staff and others in public places communicate with people with dementia by:

  • Encouraging others to make eye contact with the person with dementia

  • Asking others to share one piece of information or ask one question at a time

  • Rephrasing what others say, so it's easier for the person with dementia to understand

  • Telling others you need a little more time

  • Explaining to others that the person has dementia

Dementia advocacy and support groups can offer advice for public outings. Some groups have business cards, which can be shared quickly to explain that someone has dementia and may behave differently. In some communities, there are "dementia friendly" efforts that help businesses and organizations better serve people with dementia.