£7.25m backing for dementia-friendly pubs scheme

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Help for elderly: there are plenty of easy changes pubs can make to be dementia-friendly (credit: Getty/Dean Mitchell)
Help for elderly: there are plenty of easy changes pubs can make to be dementia-friendly (credit: Getty/Dean Mitchell)

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A scheme to introduce simple menus, training for staff and launch a Google map with dementia-friendly pubs charted on it has been backed with £7.25m funding by the UK Government.

What a pub can do to be dementia-friendly

  • Making sure the bar can be seen on arrival in the pub – a clear line of sight reduces the stress of a person with dementia
  • Clear signage for drinks, drinks visible in fridges, produce displayed in glass-fronted cabinets – people with dementia find it easier to understand visual clues
  • Range of seating styles – bar stools may be inappropriate for people with mobility issues while booths or screening may provide welcome privacy and reduce noise
  • Noisy kitchen areas located away from areas where customers gather – excess noise can be confusing for people with dementia or hearing impediment
  • Clearly marked menus with images of the food/drink on offer
  • Toilets visible on arrival and clearly signed from all locations
  • Staff have an awareness of dementia and the ability to provide appropriate support.

The drive to make pubs, restaurants and cafés across the UK more dementia-friendly is being co-ordinated by University of Stirling’s Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), which is researching the impact of ageing.

DSDC has developed a certification scheme that will encourage pub and restaurant operators to make adaptations for people with age-related degenerative conditions.

The voluntary scheme will make the spaces more accessible to people with conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s so they can enjoy going out with their families and carers.

All facilities across UK

The aim is to create a Google map to chart all dementia-friendly facilities across the UK. Establishments would bear a badge to show they’ve considered things like a clear line of sight to the bar, clearly signposted toilets, some private and quieter tables, easy-to-read menus and staff with an understanding of the condition to give customers the support they require.

The university’s scheme sits in tandem with the new Intergenerational Living Innovation Hub, part-funded by £7.25m from the UK Government through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, to pioneer technologies for an ageing society.

The University of Stirling acting director of DSDC Lesley Palmer said: “We have long accepted that there should be no barriers for people with wheelchairs. Similarly, there should be no barriers for people with dementia – they should be able to go out for a drink or a meal without stigma and feel comfortable.”

Entirely voluntary

Palmer continued: “The scheme is entirely voluntary for owners, and by making relatively small and inexpensive adaptations, pubs and restaurants can become accredited.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord, who recently toured the DSDC, said: “I saw first-hand how the solutions pioneered at the University of Stirling will make life easier for our ageing population and we are delighted to be able to support that with more than £7m in funding.

“This scheme will bring great comfort to people with dementia and their families so that they can spend quality time together.”

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