Dementia Friendly Restaurants

 In Family, Health

For those who are in need of a dementia friendly restaurant on the Outer Banks, they are now being acknowledged for their specific type of service they provide.

According to, dementia is not a disease in itself, but rather a blanket term for a set of symptoms relating to loss of brain function. These symptoms may include:

  • Memory loss
  • Personality changes and loss of social skills
  • Language problems like forgetting the names of familiar objects
  • Behavioral problems like agitation, delusions and hallucination
  • Flat mood, loss of interest in things previously enjoyed
  • Difficulty solving problems and performing tasks that used to come easily

According to the World Health Organization: “Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia. And every year, there are nearly 10 million new cases.”

dementia friendly restaurants

OBX Dementia Friendly Restaurants

Easing life for both dementia patients and their caregivers. That’s what Jan Collins is here for. Her and The Dementia Task Force on the Outer Banks are working hand-in-hand with area restaurants to become “Dementia Friendly.” So far, according to Collins, there are 12 current dementia friendly restaurants, with many more in the pipeline.

The training to become “dementia friendly” is fairly simple, and requires a minimum amount of time. Per Collins, the training only takes about 20 minutes or so. “Patients peripheral vision may be poor. Therefore, we work with the staff in things such as maintaining eye contact. Similarly, we suggest limiting choices for the patient. Often dementia patients become overwhelmed with too many options. They become agitated and confused.” Collins continues, “We train servers on how to keep things simple. We do this with role playing exercises.”

Normally the organization likes to train 75% of the restaurant staff.  Because of this, the time period the task force aims for in their training is April or May. This is when most of the summer help is in place. Once completed, The Purple Seahorse signifies the establishment as being “dementia friendly.”

Restaurants are not the only facilities the task force is working with in becoming “dementia friendly.”  Collins continues, “The Outer Banks Hospital is the first hospital in North Carolina to be certified. We worked with them to achieve this status.”

Beyond Just Dementia Friendly Restaurants

The training doesn’t stop with the hospital and restaurants however. “We are also working with doctor offices and pharmacy staffs in becoming certified,” says Collins.

The Outer Banks Visitor Center, who themselves will be become “Dementia Friendly,” has a complete list of the participatory restaurants. Since this list will be ever growing, you can also get a list from

In the meantime, here is the listing of Dementia-Friendly Establishments on the Outer Banks:

basnight's lone cedar
jolly roger OBX
Stack'Em High
Black Pelican
Barefoot Bernie's
Lifesaving Station Restaurant Logo
Sugar Creek Seafood Restaurant Logo

List updated as of February 2019

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Showing 3 comments
  • Kristine Kiousis

    Interested in someone contacting me about this! Thank you!
    Kristine Kiousis
    Stack ’em High, Kitty Hawk

  • Kristie

    This is wonderful! Do you also talk about the plate color contrasting to the color food being served? That is one issue we found with my grandmother is she just couldn’t see the food because it matched or was close to the color. Just a thought, but this is amazing the amount of work being done.

  • Brenda Laughinghouse

    So glad to see this come full circle ! Dementia has plagued my family for generations. So thankful to hear of the training of recognition of it. It’s a win, win on both sides. My family is from Currituck but I’ve lived in Craven my adult life. Would love to see it come full circle in my area. Thank you !

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