A pop-up restaurant in Japan is hiring waiters suffering from dementia in a bid to raise awareness about the mental health condition and foster inclusion.

The Restaurant of Order Mistakes popped up in Toyosu district of Tokyo in June this year. The restaurant’s name is a clever spin on Kenji Miyazawa’s book titled ‘The Restaurant of Many Orders.’

About the restaurant

The premise of the eatery is to let customers know that they may get the wrong order and that the unique experience would help people understand and sympathise with people suffering from dementia.

Food blogger Mizuho Kudo visited the dementia-friendly outlet and claims that she had a whale of a time. She posted on Twitter that she had ordered a hamburger but ended up eating gyoza dumplings instead. Kudo tweeted that she liked the dumplings and had a “good laugh” about the mix-up. She also noted that the younger waiters were really amiable and everyone seemed to have a blast.

Although the restaurant’s trial period is now over, its founders are planning another pop-up in September, to commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day.

Why is it a great initiative?

The culinary experiment hopes to instil a sense of independence amongst dementia patients and prove that people with this brain disorder can be functioning members of the society.

According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, it’s possible to live an independent and active life with dementia by developing support mechanisms and strategies to live well with the condition. This includes things like learning new skills, taking up new hobbies or engaging with other people.

Unfortunately, people with dementia are often denied basic human rights.

For instance, physical and chemical restraints are often imposed on patients in age-care facilities, says World Health Organisation (WHO).

Creating awareness about the condition is crucial to stamp out stigma and improve both the lives of people suffering from dementia and their carers.

About Dementia

‘Dementia’ is an umbrella term for the symptoms caused by many different diseases, says Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Other dementias include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia. The condition can affect people in a variety of ways. This might include confusion and disorientation, difficulty in communicating, delusions and hallucinations, etc.

According to WHO, the total number of new cases of dementia each year, across the globe, is over nine million, i.e.; one new case every three seconds.

Approximately 47 million people are living with dementia worldwide and these numbers are projected to increase to 75 million by 2030 and go up to 132 million by 2050, states WHO.