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Businesses serving customers with dementia

The number of people with dementia in Ontario is growing rapidly. Your business will likely deal with more customers who have dementia.

The following scenarios offer some advice.

How would you respond?

You’re working in a restaurant. A man in his seventies, whom you recognize as a regular customer, comes in and seats himself at a table. It’s snowing and it’s -15C outside. He’s in short sleeves and he has no coat. You know he’s walked here.

Consider this

It’s quite possible that this man has dementia. Maybe you’ve noted other behaviours when you’ve served him before that might suggest this to be the case. This may include one or several of the following:

  • having difficulty with routine tasks (e.g. ordering from the menu)
  • repeating the same question within a short period of time
  • looking confused or disoriented
  • being unable to follow directions
  • exhibiting unpredictable moods or behaviours

The important thing to recognize is that if he leaves the restaurant, there’s a good chance he may not find his way home safely. If he becomes lost, he’s at risk of serious injury or death, particularly considering how inappropriately he’s dressed for the weather. It’s vital that you make sure he does not leave the restaurant on his own.

What to say


Last Updated: 11/08/2017