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Japanese Restaurant Recruits Patients with Dementia to Raise Awareness | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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People over 65 who live alone more likely to rate their healthy
highly, but mental health rates lower. Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

Tokyo, London- To raise awareness about the disease, 17 waiters and waitresses who suffer from dementia are temporarily working in a Japanese restaurant. No complaints were raised about the service.

This idea was proposed by Shiro Oguni, 38, who is the director general of NHK television in Japan.

The elderlies suffering from dementia worked in the restaurant from 16 to 18 September, aiming to raise awareness about dementia ahead of World Alzheimer’s Day on Sept. 21, allowing the public to interact with those who have the condition in a safe environment in which the servers need not fear the consequences of any errors they might make, according to Reuters.

Ogino said: “It was truly great that everyone believed that they would be able to do this job, as long as they had proper support in place.”

Makoto Ichikawa, a customer, said he enjoyed talking to a waitress who briefly forgot her role and sat down across from him to chat.

Professional cooks prepared the dishes for diners who were required to register in advance.

Japan is a global frontrunner in confronting dementia, the cost of which has been estimated at 1% of the world’s gross domestic product.

Both public and private initiatives have sought to erase the stigma of the disorder that affects nearly five million Japanese citizens.

One in five Japanese aged 65 or over, or some seven million people, are forecast to have some degree of dementia by 2025.