What Makes a Restaurant “SENIOR FRIENDLY”
For many seniors, a trip out of the house has real wellness benefits:
It’s a mood-booster, gives then a reason to be aware of
dress and hygiene and helps them feel connected. Sharing
an enjoyable meal with friends and family is a delicious way to
accomplish this. But seniors look for different things in a restaurant,
so consider a few factors when choosing a place to eat.
Does the restaurant take reservations? It is often uncomfortable
and tiring to stand or sit on a bench waiting for a table.
How challenging will it be to get to a table? Having a ramp or
wide doorways does not mean the journey will be easy. Walking
through a long foyer or a bar, or stepping up or down from one
floor level to the next may not be the best idea.
Where is the table in relationship to the restrooms? As we age the location
of the restroom becomes an increasingly important criterion.
How easy is it to move the chairs? A bit of chivalry can solve the
problem of heavy chairs, although I wonder why restaurants often
select seats that could be used in a weight lifting competition.
Can the wait staff, host or chef tell you what ingredients are
included in every menu item? A senior friendly restaurant will be
sensitive to the fact that dietary restrictions need to be honored
at every meal.
Does the restaurant offer half and full portions? This is often gracefully
indicated by two prices separated by a slash. If you ask a
question about half portions and are told about the children’s
menu then the staff does not respect the dignity of a senior.
How legible is the menu? The purpose of the menu is to disseminate
information. “Artsy” fonts of any size or even plain type fonts
that are too small detract from the quality of the experience. The
type size should be at least 12, if not larger.
Are the daily specials printed on a separate sheet or are they presented
orally? I cannot tell you how many times I have been to a “classy”
restaurant only to listen to a list of specials that is impossible to
understand or remember. If the wait staff presents the list orally,
do they stand where the senior can hear and see them talk? Many
people, especially seniors rely on some level of lip reading skills.
How much “obstructing noise” is there? If the music is too loud,
the tables are too close or the table is next to the kitchen doorway
then there is a very good chance that the obstructing noise will
detract from the quality of the experience.
Please note that a senior discount is not included in my description
of a senior friendly restaurant. While we all love a discount,
it is almost always a marketing tool rather than a commitment to
making the restaurant experience truly enjoyable for seniors.
As Julia Child would say: “Bon appetit!”
Rob Robison is a Certified Senior Advisor, the President of Robison & Associates, a firm dedicated to “Senior Care Consumer Education”, and President of Comfort Keepers of Central Jersey, a licensed health care service firm that has provided over 1,250,000 hours of in-home care in Monmouth County. To obtain more information, ask a question, suggest a topic or offer your opinion email email@example.com.