Sunday, October 2, 2022

Japanese Cafe for the Elderly with Dementia and their Families

I read a wonderful story about a coffee shop in Aichi Prefecture that caters to elderly people with dementia, creating a place for customers and their caretakers to feel welcome.  In addition, children get to wait on them. 

The cafe's name is Anki Cafe, which is named after the regional word "anki" meaning relief. Customers can visit with friends and no one is annoyed if someone starts singing or wandering around the shop, things that may not be welcome at other cafes. Caretakers would like to go out for  a cup of tea, but can't leave their elderly relatives at home and can't be relaxed taking them along, not knowing what the relative might do if taken out. 

The cafe is managed by 52 year old Tomoka Sugino, who cared for her father after he was injured in a workplace accident. She created a place for people of different ages to communicate, including children who have fewer opportunities to interact with their grandparents. Ms. Sugino hopes that spending time with the elderly would foster kindness in the children that would lead to them helping the elderly later when they are in need. She has "hired" around 40 children from nearby elemenary schools to be shop staff. A 7-year old who was helping out in the cafe said, "Sometimes I feel a bit nervous, but it's fun asking what people want and bringing them drinks. I play card games with guests sometimes too." 

Dementia has become an issue in aging Japan. The Japanese government estimates that around 7 million people, or one in 5 over the age of 65, will suffer the illness by 2025.  

I think this is a wonderful idea (and not just because I am getting old and forgetful). Do you know of any other such cafes?


diamondc said...

Pamela: What an amazing idea, this is wonderful, we have three friends with dementia, its so hard for their caregivers to have a day out and not worry about outbursts or other
Thank-you for sharing.


Queeniepatch said...

great idea! Shall we move to Aichi when it is our turn to become ga-ga?

Terra said...

I have not heard of any similar cafes and it is a great idea. Sweet to have young children serve the elders and to create a place for caretakers and their elders to relax.

jocondine said...

Wish I could visit you and have a nice cup of tea there, what a great idea. Some years ago in Paris they opened a restaurant managed by people with mental and cognitive disabilities on the Champs Elysées "le Café Joyeux". Today there is 8 more in big cities. Fingers crossed to get one in Orléans soon. xxx

kiwikid said...

Sounds like a wonderful idea to me.
Nothing like that here that I know of, only cafes where special needs people can work and serve the customers.

Jeanie said...

I've never heard of something like this here but if I was a lot younger and looking to open a business of some sort, this would be a fine one, especially with the increase in aging and probably along with that, dementia.

Leonore Winterer said...

That is a really heartwarming story! Sadly, I don't know of any such establishments around here.

Diane-crewe said...

What an amazing idea x