Once a month around lunchtime in a suburb of Tokyo, a 12-seat cafe transforms into a pop-up "dementia cafe". Lovingly named the Cafe of Mistaken Orders, the dementia cafe concept was first introduced in Japan in 2017 as one way to creatively engage dementia patients amid the country's aging population. With 30 percent of Japan's population over the age of 65, and over 6 million Japanese people estimated to have dementia, the cafe is a bright spot of humanity, fostering multiple benefits. Not only does employing elders with dementia help keep them physically and mentally active as well as emotionally engaged in community (practices that slow down the neurodegenerative disease's progress), the cafe also helps sensitize the general public to the effects of dementia. The cafe's diners arrive expecting their orders to have errors -- they come not only for the food, but for the connection to humanity that gets served up in spades. In one of the first pop-ups, 37% of orders were mistaken and 99% of customers reported being happy. "A lot of elderly people are either in nursing homes or are just sort of shut away in their homes, so I hope that our initiative will give people with dementia something to look forward to," Yui Iwata, who helps run the cafe, told The Washington Post. "If people get a deeper understanding, it would become easier for people with dementia to go out, as well."

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