1 in every 14 of the population aged 65 years and over has dementia in the UK. There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025
Yet, we are lagging behind in how to care for people with dementia, the traditional care home and nursing home still look after its’ residents with dementia in the upstairs wings with rare access to the outside or daily experiences we enjoy.
Only last night I met some friends in a pub enjoying a meal for a birthday chatting about visiting their mother in a care home. They talked about, how a performer sang for the residents… some of the people with dementia joined them from the upstairs unit, mute in conversation and at the end of the song, they were able to say how wonderful the songs were, yet only to return to the wing upstairs wandering the corridors and remaining mute.
These are popular misconceptions. Just because a person has dementia does not mean they can’t see, hear, or join in conversations about what is going on. The way people with dementia react to this confusion is different, some disengage, some cannot talk, some get frustrated, some get sad and in life, we all react in our own ways.
What works better is everyday living, eating and drinking at the table, eating a meal in the restaurant with friends and family. What the person with dementia sees within this is a sense of reality and is able to join in as it has familiar experiences. The restaurant at Ixworth Court Specialist Dementia Care Village is open to everyone the same as any restaurant in the street with a chef cooking the meals and waiting staff serving the food. ‘Fish and Chip Friday’ is a British tradition and is a popular event, we had a busy day catering for 20 customers joining together to eat in a restaurant enjoyed by the residents, their families, friends and locals. The laughter is wonderful to see and hear as the people who live here still experience going out for dinner with their friends and families and the happiness this brings.