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Dementia-friendly dining in Central Florida grows to 5 restaurants

Toni Gitles and Dennis Dulniak describe a place mat with simple puzzles for dinners dealing with dementia and a list of resources. Photo: Joe Byrnes, WMFE News
Toni Gitles and Dennis Dulniak describe a place mat with simple puzzles for dinners dealing with dementia and a list of resources. Photo: Joe Byrnes, WMFE News

A fifth Central Florida restaurant is joining a special effort to meet the needs of people with Alzheimer's disease and those who care for them.

Dementia-friendly dining provides specific times and days of the week for eating out, free from the usual hubbub and clatter of a crowded restaurant, and with servers specially trained to interact with people who have Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.

Perkins in Winter Springs confirmed that it's the newest participant. Its back room will become a refuge for those diners every Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m.

"This is going to reduce the isolation that families with loved ones with dementia encounter, and that's really the benefits that we're trying to do with dementia-friendly dining," said Dennis Dulniak.

Dulniak, who lost his wife to Alzheimer's, restarted the program in Central Florida last May.

"There is no limit to where this can go," he said. "And the more restaurants that become dementia-friendly, our community becomes more dementia-friendly."

Other participating restaurants are in Altamonte Springs, Oviedo, Sanford and Orlando.

You can find a list of the restaurants at the website for Central Florida Dementia-friendly Dining.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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