In Arakawa City, Tokyo, there’s a coffee shop that offers something different to its elderly clients: electric wheelchairs and handcarts. The Mobile Care and Ocha Café has a space to allow visitors to try “welfare equipment” such as wheelchairs, senior trolleys and canes before they consider purchasing. Seniors in Japan are reluctant to use these devices for many reasons, including the lack of insurance coverage, prohibitive costs and the embarrassment that comes with using them. Yoshio Nakano and his wide Mayumi run the shop together. They got the inspiration for this café while working as ophthalmologists. Many of their patients stopped coming to the clinic in the middle of their treatment. “At the start, the older patients were able to come. But as their health worsened and their bodies became rigid, they gradually stopped. Their children would bring them to the clinic, but eventually they gave up visiting.” Nakano said. “I thought it would be beneficial if old people could visit the hospital or go shopping by themselves, even for just a short distance. That’s why I created this kind of café,” he added.

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