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July 24, 2019

The First Dementia-Caring Restaurant in Tallahassee

Sam Osborne, owner of Island Wing Company in Tallahassee, was presented with an interesting invitation last December. A member of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs asked if we would be interested in becoming Tallahassee’s first Dementia-Caring Certified restaurant.

Sam’s management team went to work on setting up the space needed as well as scheduling almost half of the 100 employees that work at Island Wing Company. It was an eye-opening experience for everyone that attended and there were some great takeaways! Many of the staff didn’t understand what to look for or how to handle the special needs that come with memory disorders. It can be a struggle for caregivers and their loved ones to be able to go out and eat in public. The main worry is the disconnect that can arise when trying to communicate needs or event just to place a simple order. Unfortunately, this frustration can keep them at home instead of getting out of the house and enjoying themselves.

Sam said “Our staff learned great techniques on how to make customers feel welcome and not rushed when they come to our restaurant. While the strategies were very simple, it was a beneficial lesson for us to learn how to identify and, better yet, how to immediately take action to make their visit unique and want to come visit us more often.” A few servers mentioned that these techniques were not only good for identifying and serving those with dementia, but that they were also fundamental building blocks on how to provide top level service to every customer young and old.

Sam Osborne, who has lived in Tallahassee all his life except for four years in the US Air Force before attending Florida State, said proudly, “I’m a local guy who thinks it’s important to do things that ingrain ourselves within our own community. While I had never heard of this program before, I’m a big believer in trying to do things that give back. So, when we were asked if we wanted to be the first to do the training and certification, I said heck yeah!”

Thank you Sam and Island Wing Company staff for learning about dementia and how to best serve those with memory disorders!

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