Whether it is recent exhibitions by Declan Clarke, Debbie Castro and Asbestos or simply a reflection of age, the issue of dementia seems to be gaining increasing traction as an issue we will be living with in terms of loved ones and may even encounter ourselves over time. The WHO states that more than 55 million people have dementia worldwide with nearly 10 million new cases each year, Alzheimer’s being the most common form, contributing to 60–70% of cases.
In Japan they have set up dementia cafes. A 12-seater cafe in Sengawa, a suburb in western Tokyo, hires elderly people with dementia to work as servers once a month. Orange Day Sengawa is also known as the Cafe of Mistaken Orders. “A lot of elderly people are either in nursing homes or are just sort of shut away in their homes, so I hope that our initiative will give people with dementia something to look forward to,” Yui Iwata, who helps run the cafe, told The Washington Post. “If people get a deeper understanding, it would become easier for people with dementia to go out, as well.”
We look forward to seeing a similar initiatives here.
Words: Michael McDermott