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Purple Table reservation system for area restaurants

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By Sunday, Aug 5, 2018 Letters

To the Editor:

I am always thrilled to meet people from all over the world right here in the Berkshires. They come for so many reasons – because of the natural beauty, art in its many forms, and because we strive to be a place of acceptance, inclusion, and accessibility for all. Tourists and residents alike benefit from a culture that makes room for each and everyone one of us. Visiting a museum, watching great theater, attending a concert on the lawn are among the joys of being in the Berkshires. And what rounds out a great day here? A meal at one of our excellent dining spots. Although going out for a meal should be a lovely, relaxing experience, many choose not to go out to eat because for someone they love, it could be a challenging or unpleasant experience.

We want to change that. We CAN change that. Because this is who we are in the Berkshires.

On Monday, August 6, restaurants throughout Berkshire County are invited to learn about the Purple Table reservation system. Designation as a Purple Table restaurant indicates that staff is trained using best practices to provide customers who are living with a physical or cognitive condition such as dementia (Alzheimer’s Disease), autism, PTSD, a hearing or vision impairment or other condition, with simple additional accommodations. When making a Purple Table reservation, one may provide the restaurant with further details. However, no further detail is necessary; a Purple Table reservation is all that is needed. There is no actual “purple table.” It is merely a way for a restaurant to know that a party is coming in with some need for accommodation — be it a quiet table away from the flow of foot traffic, simplification of the ordering process, or staff that is especially caring and empathetic.

Many of our favorite restaurants already have great staff and attentive service. Purple Table training shares additional, simple techniques that are easy to incorporate into existing businesses. A Purple Table restaurant can expect easy implementation, ease of use, and new customers. A Purple Table designation inspires great karma!

As a daughter and former caregiver to my mother who struggled with Alzheimer’s for many years, I know how dementia can shrink the life of the person affected. It also impacts the lives of entire families as the disease progresses. But I also know that after a diagnosis there is still much life to be lived and enjoyed. There comes a time when a family knows dining out, among other activities, is no longer possible. Let’s make the most of the time to that point and allow families the simple pleasures so many of us take for granted.

We invite restaurants to join us for information and refreshments on Monday, August 6, at 10:30 a.m. at Hotel on North in Pittsfield to hear restaurant owner and Purple Table founder Jen Apizidis share best practices and success stories. RSVP appreciated: info@BAPartners.org.

Karen Gold

Lanesborough, Mass.

The writer is co-chair of the Berkshire Alzheimer’s Partnership.



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