Social Inclusion and Engagement for Dementia Patients

There are almost 50 million people around the world living with dementia, including more than 413,106 people in Australia alone.

Many dementia patients can experience a loss of independence, loneliness and are often stereotyped as a burden on society, which makes it even more important to provide stimulating, enjoyable and engaging activities for patients to take part in.

Recently a pop up restaurant opened in Tokyo, “The Restaurant of Order Mistakes”, which aimed to break down common misconceptions around people who suffer with dementia by only employing staff who had the disease. The premise was that patrons would dine at the restaurant, knowing up front that the staff may get their orders wrong.

Not only did the experience changed diners’ perceptions about dementia sufferers, it also demonstrated that with some patience and understanding on our part, dementia patients can be engaged members of society. It also brought great joy and happiness to the dementia patients working as servers, giving them a sense of purpose and belonging.

Activities such as this are a great way to stimulate and provide social engagement for those living with dementia. According to Better Health Victoria, activities for dementia patients should:

  • Compensate for lost abilities
  • Promote self-esteem
  • Maintain residual skills and not involve new learning
  • Provide an opportunity for enjoyment, pleasure and social contact
  • Be sensitive to the person’s cultural background.

“The Restaurant of Order Mistakes” clearly tick most of these boxes, but in particular, it enhances patients’ self-esteem and emotional well-being, and provides an opportunity for enjoyment, pleasure and social contact.

The pop-up restaurant was such a success that organisers are planning another event to commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day in September.

Cater Care are strongly focused on working with our clients to improve the quality of life and engagement of their residents in aged care facilities right across the country. With a strong commitment in improving residents’ well-being and inclusion through activities such as theme days and our Secrets From the Kitchen program.

If you are looking for new activities to stimulate and engage dementia patients at your aged care home, Golden Carers have provided 20 practical suggestions.  

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