Mon, Sep 02, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Project for people with dementia expands to Taipei

By Yang Mien-chieh and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

An elderly shop assistant, right, serves a customer, center, as part of the What Time Is It cafe project in Taipei on Saturday.

Photo: Wu Tzu-yu, Taipei Times

The Hondao Senior Citizens’ Welfare Foundation aims to curb the effects of dementia and prove that people with dementia are not disabled by expanding the What Time Is It cafe project to Taipei.

The cafe project, established in 2017, is a collaboration between 7-Eleven and the Sisters of Our Lady of China Catholic Charity Social Welfare Foundation.

Along with the newest cafe in Taipei, What Time Is It cafes have been set up in Chiayi, Hsinchu and Pingtung counties, as well as Taichung and Kaohsiung, the foundation said on Saturday.

The cafes give participants with dementia more time to socialize with people, the company said, adding that the project is based on studies showing that social interaction can slow the effects of the condition.

According to participant feedback, about 90 percent of the cafe socialites experience greater emotional stability and even greater enthusiasm after interacting at the cafes, it said.

About 80 percent of the participants reported a greater willingness to interact with others and to try new things, while 60 percent reported that the project helped to slow the effects of their dementia, it added.

Every three seconds another person is diagnosed with dementia, the foundation said, citing statistics from Alzheimer’s Disease International.

One out of 13 Taiwanese aged 65 or older has dementia, with the rate increasing to one in five for those aged 80 or older, the foundation added, citing Ministry of Health and Welfare data.

Four older people from the foundation — 84-year-old Kuo Chun (郭春), 81-year-old Lee Chin-ying (李金英), 77-year-old Hsu Chou Yu-yeh (許周玉葉) and an unnamed senior — recently began working 10:30am to 11:30am every Friday at a 7-Eleven store in Taipei, the company said.

Some had never worked before, while others received low levels of education, the foundation said, adding that all four are happy to be working, even though they have been diagnosed with dementia.

Additional reporting by Wu Tzu-yu

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