Have You Noticed the Purple Angels Downtown?

What does the “Purple Angel” Mean?

You may have noticed a Purple Angel decal on the door or window of neighboring downtown businesses: shops, restaurants, bars or taverns.

purple angel

It means that owners and employees have received simple training in how to offer hospitality and customer service to customers who have some symptoms of dementia: confusion, difficulty making choices, problems with handling money.  As our population ages, more of us will be contending with such symptoms – up to half of us should we live long enough.

Persons with dementia still wish to participate in the life of the community; to feel welcome and secure when they shop or eat in familiar places.  It is not difficult to make them feel welcome: a bit of extra time and a bit of kindness and support.  The Fox Valley Memory Project (920- 225-1515) can provide training that fits your schedule.

There is a gentleman who has enjoyed eating at Frank’s Pizza Palace for many years, but now he sometimes struggles to make a selection and is confused by numbers/money.  His daughter and the owner came up with a solution.  The daughter makes out a check with everything filled in but the amount.  He can take friends (who also contend with mild confusion) to lunch on his own.  If he forgets what he wishes to order, the staff remembers for him.  After the meal, staff fills in the amount (with tip).  He has the dignity of taking his friends to lunch without having his daughter as an “escort,” and Frank’s retains a cherished, loyal customer.  Being dementia-friendly is not complicated or difficult.  It just requires a commitment to serve all customers well, including those who are journeying into dementia.

written by John T McFadden