- Engaging Seniors with Dementia: Facing a lack of caregivers, Japanese people are finding creative ways to keep seniors living with cognitive decline as active as possible. The crowdfunded Restaurant of Mistaken Orders employs seniors with dementia and aims to reframe the public’s understanding of the condition. Diners are reminded that “even if your order is mistaken, everything on our menu is delicious and one of a kind”. Opening only a few days at a time, the pop-up hires social welfare workers to look after the wellbeing of its servers.
To broaden its impact, the restaurant has published a guide for entrepreneurs on how to launch similar concepts. A spin-off, the Café of Mistaken Orders, takes place monthly in Sengawa, Tokyo. It works with the local government to find suitable servers with dementia from the area.
- Japan’s Ageing Predicament: Japan has the world’s oldest population, with one in 10 now aged 80 or over (BBC, 2023). The country also has the highest global proportion of people living with dementia, but it lacks working-age individuals to take care of them or fill the jobs to run its economy.
For seniors living with dementia or cognitive decline, working can become impossible. However, social participation in later life is found to lower the chances of developing dementia, while social isolation is linked to the loss of brain volume in older adults. Initiatives like the Restaurant of Mistaken Orders enable those with dementia to participate in society.
See Seniors’ New Ageing Narratives for more.