Would you eat in a restaurant where all staff has dementia?

When I tap my PIN in the terminal to pay for lunch, I notice that my waitress Sue is floating. Fast as a flash she says: "I will turn away, but you do not have to worry. I will not remember the song anyway. & # 39;

Just before that, she had carefully entered the cost of my meal, £ 23 in total, into the machine and courageously admitted that she had forgotten how to add up – a devastating recognition for a 62-year-old former salesman who had once been used to work with figures .

Welcome to The Restaurant That Mistakes, fully staffed by people with dementia. The pop-up location – a former Bristol fire station – was open for five weeks in December under the watchful eye of award-winning chef Josh Eggleton.

Service with a smile: Claudia Joseph and maitre d & # 39; Peter in the restaurant

Service with a smile: Claudia Joseph and maitre d & # 39; Peter in the restaurant

Inspired by a comparable restaurant that opened in Tokyo in 2017, the British version was set up by Channel 4 to change the state's view.

The project is staffed by, among others, a renowned midwife and gynecologist, a nurse and an electrician. The project will serve as a grim reminder that the devastating disease can affect anyone at any age.

And the number of people living with the disorder increases every year.

The creators of the show are of the opinion that a broader discussion is needed about how we think about people who live and work with dementia, because a participant said: "We are not yet on the scrap heap. & # 39;

Along with members of the public and a host of celebrity dinners, including the star of Downton Abbey Hugh Bonneville, a supporter of the Alzheimer Society and Countdown's Rachel Riley, I was fortunate to be invited to see where this unique and remarkable social experiment was about. And far from being a maudlinist experience, I found a room full of joy and met a number of fascinating individuals with a zest for life.

I have to admit that I had my reservations in advance. Eggleton's menu looked great – three courses, each with three choices – but I wondered how the staff would handle it. After all, they did every job, from house to kitchen. Would the food be edible? Would I end up with no starter and three puddings?

I was greeted by maitre d & # 39; Peter, a 53-year-old former sawmill from Suffolk. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's three years ago and is now struggling to read or write. He showed me on my chair and checked if my table had passed the wobble test. So good.

While Peter and waitress Sandie, 54, clearly had problems with their memories, they kept their old-fashioned ways, camaraderie and sense of humor. When Bonneville arrived, Peter turned to mortgage advisor Sandie and asked: "Is he someone we should know? Who is he? & # 39;

& # 39; He is Hugh … Hugh … Hugh … & # 39; replied Sandie before he finally remembered his last name.

& # 39; Ah, that's it, & # 39; Peter replied. & # 39; Well done. Well done. Excellent. I can not remember and you can not say it. It's going well with us. & # 39;

My waitress was Joy, 60, a former nurse from Manchester who wrote my order diligently in her notebook. On her 55th birthday, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and she suffers memory loss in the short term – the notebook acts as a practical tool.

I chose wild mushrooms and lovage on toast with pickled walnut and black garlic ketchup to start, followed by fried cod with seaweed butter, risotto of parsley barley and sea vegetables. After I had polished my delicious starter, Peter emptied my plate and asked: & # 39; Have you seen the dessert menu? & # 39;

& # 39; I'm going to take my main course first, & # 39; I laughed.

& # 39; It is better not to ask at all, & # 39; he said quickly from the target.

The program comes after a Sainsbury & # 39; s pilot project to relax & # 39; checkout & # 39; s to install, train staff to recognize the symptoms of dementia and give patients the opportunity to pay their groceries at a slower pace. The company was also praised last year because a 61-year-old supermarket picker could keep her job after the diagnosis of her Alzheimer's.

Sarah Lazenby, head of functions and formats of Channel 4, says: & # 39; A diagnosis of dementia does not mean the end of a career and should not mean it. & # 39;

The 14 participants all worked between ten and 15 hours per week, spread over four or five days. No one has worked more than five hours a day to prevent fatigue.

Dr. Zoe Wyrko, a health care geriatrician and medical assistant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham who acted as a consultant for the program, says: "The message we get from our volunteers is that they often forget or to feel the scrap heap.

We want employers to realize that just because someone is diagnosed with dementia does not mean they can not work. & # 39;

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, who supports the program, adds: "Life does not stop when dementia begins. Society must unite and support all affected people.

A large part of this is about people with dementia who are able to lead the life they want in their community – and this includes the right to work as long as they are capable of doing so. "

It was clear from my visit that these great people are still very capable and society has so much to offer. I hope that with their confidence, stimulated by their time in the restaurant, they get the chance – if they want – to work until they decide otherwise.

  • The restaurant that makes mistakes will be shown on channel 4 in March.

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Eat spinach to keep your mind young

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The blog: avocadu.com

The bloggers: Personal trainer and nutritionist Alex and Lauren, a yoga fan and former vegan, met on a Tinder date. They have thwarted fad diets and promote "healthy living from the inside out & # 39;

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Ask a stupid question

Haren Northern people the cold less than "soft southerners & # 39;

Professor Mike Tipton of the University of Portsmouth says: "The body can acclimatise to cold temperatures – swimmers in open water are a good example of this. Routinely going out without warm clothing would have the same effect, perhaps explaining how "Newcastle guy" can leave his coat on a night out, even in winter. But in general, temperature differences between the north and the south of the UK are not big enough to adjust our body. & # 39;