Gracewell of Bath’s Home Admissions Advisor, Michelle Williams, describes her visit to Bristol’s latest dementia-targeted initiative…
As an avid follower of all things dementia on Twitter, I was really excited when it came to my attention that the production company behind the brilliant Channel 4 series ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ were launching a new social experiment.
Open for one month, ‘The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes’ has brought a restaurant with a difference to Bristol’s city centre. In a ground-breaking move, all 14 of its chefs and waiting staff have been diagnosed with dementia. Its daily goings-on are being filmed for broadcast in a special five-part series set to air on Channel 4 next March. I was also intrigued to see that the restaurant is expecting a few celebrity diners too!
Inspired by a pop-up restaurant opened in Tokyo last year, the restaurant aims to challenge misconceptions around dementia whilst tackling the fact that with more than 400,000 people living with dementia and aged under 65 in the country, only a fifth work post-diagnosis.
Immediately wanting to see things for myself, I jumped online to make a booking and was delighted to be joined by Gracewell of Bath’s General Manager Carol Britton to visit the restaurant for lunch.
After being briefed by the production team and putting on our microphones, we were met by Peter, one of the volunteers who showed us to our tables, presented menus and, to our delight, ensured the delicious food arrived quickly.
From the minute we walked through the door, the whole experience was a lovely one. The service was superior and the food outstanding. In fact, without any of the cameras around, you would have no clue you weren’t in any usual good restaurant.
Peter explained that the volunteers want to treat their customers as they would wish to be treated. Knowing that each of them has a diagnosis of dementia, considering how they would be treated every single day is of the upmost importance to all of them.
This was clear to see from the attentive and caring volunteers across the restaurant, who all displayed a genuine interest in each and every one of their customers. Of course, mistakes are bound to be made, but that is part of the point – and the amazing service is what made the whole experience so brilliant.
I am sure that the restaurant will open the eyes of employers, and lots of other people too, to the importance of raising the confidence of those living with dementia and ensuring they can still have independence – and ultimately help to destigmatise dementia and memory loss.
At Gracewell of Bath, we know the importance of ensuring that every single person living with dementia has the most active and fulfilling life possible. So, it was great to see that such a poignant and important project is having such success just a short train ride away.
I’m sure all of us at Gracewell of Bath will be looking forward to tuning in to The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes in March 2019.