Attending to customers with dementia relies on the basic tenants of customer service: be respectful, be patient, and listen. While using more specialized communication techniques can enhance the interaction, adults with dementia are ultimately people who wish to be treated with dignity.
Many care partners of people with dementia continue to work while providing care for their loved one. Businesses that employ care partners should familiarize themselves with legal obligations and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines. Allowing flexible schedules and work conditions such as adjustable hours, telecommuting, or reduced hours can support employees and promote a healthier work environment.
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Pharmacists working with a client confused about their medication, not uncommon for adults with dementia, may require alternative methods in organizing prescriptions such as filling a daily pill sorter. If the client struggles with communication or the financial transaction to pay for their order, consider contacting a relative or care provider for assistance.
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The loud, busy atmosphere of a restaurant may overwhelm a person with dementia leading to discomfort or anxiety. Seating the dining party in a quiet location may lessen these feelings. The individual may be confused by the extensive menu or become frustrated when they cannot recall their intended order. Instead of arguing with a confused adult, be patient, avoid arguing, and ask simple questions.
Read about the Purple Table Reservations movement that offers special dining accommodations for people with dementia or other cognitive challenges.
When approaching an adult with cognitive impairment in a store, offer excellent customer service: smile, and use a calm voice. The adult may misplace items or appear disoriented. Assist them or offer to call a friend or family member to address any issues that may arise.