Young Onset Dementia Doesn’t Mean People Stop Living

Working age people living with dementia enjoying coffee and conversation

MindCare Dementia Support reflects on the Channel 4 show, The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes, and invites local people under 65 living with dementia to have their say as to how local services can support them to live well with dementia.

The Restaurant That Makes  Mistakes

23-year-old Jordan, who tested gene-positive for Pick’s disease, a type of dementia, brilliantly summed up the ground-breaking Channel 4 show, The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes. He doesn’t show any signs of dementia yet but, being on the show highlighted there is a lot of living to do before and even when the symptoms of dementia begin to show in his life.

The myth-busting, entertaining and inspiring show recruited 14 working-age volunteers diagnosed with some form of dementia to run the UK’s first restaurant operated by people living with dementia. Supported by dementia specialist, Professor Zoe Wyrko, and successful restaurateur, Josh Eggleton, the volunteers learnt how to run a restaurant.

See the Person Before the Dementia

Being valued and part of a team contributing to a larger purpose, volunteers living with dementia overcame low self-esteem, anxiety and depression to amaze restaurant customers, food critics and Bristol-based businesses with high quality food.

Volunteers showed up to 60% improvement in cognitive skills, meaning they could plan, concentrate, problem solve, make decisions much more easily than at the beginning of the programme. Some volunteers went on to new roles with high street restaurants.

MindCare Dementia Support staff and volunteers have been reflecting on the programme.

“It is wonderful to see a programme like this on mainstream TV busting myths around dementia and raising awareness,” said Saira Addison, MindCare Manager. “It is educating people and also showing how much contribution people in early stages of dementia can make to society if we can make small adjustments for them, as we would for anyone without dementia.”

“Finding individual strengths of people living with dementia, giving people a sense of purpose and making them feel valued is core to how we run our dementia centres in Bromley. People living with dementia take part in activities such as helping with food preparation, crafts and gardening. This approach has been very positive for some of our clients in early to mid-stages of dementia.”

“One carer said she was amazed at the difference in her husband since coming to one of our activity centres, with him wanting to help with cooking and chores at home and communicating much more. Family members are often moved to tears of gratitude for having some parts of their loved ones back. The illness is terminal but we can help people diagnosed with dementia and their families to live well with dementia.”

42,000 people under 65 years old are living with dementia in the UK. MindCare Dementia Support is aware of younger people with dementia and their families affected in the boroughs of Bromley and Lewisham.

What Support Do People with Dementia Under 65 Want in Bromley and Lewisham?

MindCare is looking to meet with more people of working age diagnosed with dementia living in the London boroughs of Bromley or Lewisham, to help shape our dementia support services to best meet their needs.

If you would like to get involved to shape local dementia services and meet other local people living with dementia, please contact Saira Addison, MindCare manager.

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