Ramsey’s Diner employees undergo training to better serve patrons with dementia

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 10:15 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Tuesday was a busy night at Ramsey’s Diner. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary at first glance, but inside the family-owned business were customers who have been waiting a long time for a night out.

“Tonight is us opening as a dementia friendly restaurant, period. As a company, too. It’s not just this location, it’s all locations,” said Promise Griffin, the general manager at Ramsey’s Diner.

Ramsey’s became the first restaurant in Lexington to become dementia-friendly certified.

“It’s so difficult to get out in the community the way you used to before you had a loved one with dementia,” said Amber Lakin, Dementia Friendly Lexington chairperson. “This opens that door for them to get integrated into society the way they should be and feel that comfort level they haven’t felt in a long time.”

Like sharing a simple meal with friends and family. Lakin and board member Mary Crowley-Schmidt said they offered Ramsey’s employees a training course, starting with how to recognize a patron with dementia.

“It’s everything from, don’t approach a person from behind and start speaking to them. You need to look them in the eye and talk to them directly. Give them guided choices. Don’t give someone 30 choices for dinner tonight. Talk to them about a couple of choices and watch their reaction,” Lakin said.

Most importantly, be patient.

“And not shame them in any way for behavior that might seem out of the ordinary,” Crowley-Schmidt said.

They’re hoping what they’ve started at Ramsey’s spreads to businesses across the region.

Dementia Friendly Lexington founding member David Nisbet offers this training to any business, from hair salons, to clothing stores and to restaurants. After completing the training, your business then becomes dementia-friendly certified.

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