Dementia is the kind of illness that affects one’s memory, thinking, behaviour, and the ability to perform everyday activities. It is most likely to occur when people approach old age. However, the awareness and understanding surrounding the illness is rare and people suffering from it are more likely to be stigmatised by society.
According to WHO, over 35.6 million people in the world suffer from dementia. Shockingly, the number is expected to triple by 2050. Hence, it is not just important for us to be aware of the illness but also to be more accepting of people suffering from it as they more often than not tend to live isolated lives.
However, one restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, has taken a major step in making lives better for people with dementia. Funnily, this restaurant is called ‘Restaurant of Mistaken Orders’ because they only hire staff suffering from dementia who are, thereby, likely to get orders wrong!
“You may think it’s crazy
A restaurant that can’t even get your order right.
All of our servers are people living with dementia.
They may or may not get your order right.
However, rest assured that even if your order is mistaken
Everything on our menu is delicious and one of a kind.
This we guarantee.
‘It’s okay if my order was wrong. It tastes so good anyway.’
We hope this feeling of openness and understanding will spread
across Japan, and through the world.”
With this touching poem written on their official website, the Restaurant of Mistaken Orders prepares its visitors to be ready to get food completely different from what they ordered, but expect them to be more accepting of the little quirks that people with dementia have.
Even though the chefs are young professionals, all the waiters either have dementia or Alzheimers. Sources report that one “silver-haired” waitress with advanced Alzheimers often forgets that she works in the restaurant!
“What do I do?” She asked one young couple.
“You’re here to help us order food,” the man said.
“Ah, yes,” she said, then laughed gleefully while covering her mouth with one hand.
It is often considered that people with dementia would be taken care of by their families and children. The aim of this restaurant was to encourage such people to live and enjoy their lives and be dependent on no one else but themselves. Being able to work and earn for themselves at such an old age was liberating for the staff.
Shiro Oguni, the founder of the restaurant, says, “It’s not that we want to make fun of them. We just wanted to bring the experience, whether or not you have dementia, of being okay with making mistakes and laughing about it.”
Watch the videos here:
This has left me teary-eyed! Can we have more places like this, please?