"I'll have what he's... whatever you give me."
While I've been ping-ponging between elation for my Dementia New! direction in life and misery while I seek to shed the Dementia Old (boo!), I've come across an über cool organization that is turning the Dementia Creative up to 11!
"You'll get what you get when I get it to 'ya. Maybe...?"
Every time I come across a dementia innovator I am awestruck. While I could barely keep my head above water in my caregiving career, those who have walked in our shoes and saw solutions for our dementia people to the betterment of us all have my deepest respect.
So, I gotta tell 'ya, I'm pretty blown away by The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders.
The inspiration to create the Restaurant of Mistaken Orders came to Shiro Oguni after being served the incorrect dish while visiting a dementia group home. I guess he figured if he didn't mind eating potstickers as opposed to the hamburger he ordered maybe other's wouldn't either, and dementia folks could find purposefulness and joy in throwing out the wrong food to the wrong patrons in a right formal restaurant setting.
Guess what? He nailed it!
The Restaurant of Mistaken orders is a pop-up dining experience in Japan with a wait staff made up entirely of dementia folks.
"The restaurant is not about whether orders are executed incorrectly or not," says Oguni. "The important thing is the interaction with people who have dementia."
I agree, but the even more important thing is the utter elation that beams from the faces of the wait staff as they don their work aprons, greet their customers, deliver smiles and laughter with each order, and are full of pride in a job not at all well done, but relished by patrons and staff alike.
Sitting in front of my computer a half a world away I am infused with happiness as I watch disenfranchised dementia people having the time of their lives when given the opportunity.
In 2019, inspired by the Restaurant of Mistaken Orders, England's Channel 4 created a reality series about the UK's first ever restaurant staffed by people living with dementia! Unfortunately, it's only available to stream if you have a UK address. (I tried with my US one and got a beat down in return.)
I was unable to find anything similar in the states or Canada, but for those of you who are feeling dementia innovative The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders encourages anyone who would like to learn more, participate, or even start their own Restaurant of Mistaken Orders to contact them through their Facebook page.
Dementia demands that we think outside the box. As a working caregiver it's often too exhausting to rise to the challenge. Thank gawd for others who have the vision and energy to make the dementia journey better for the rest of us.