In October 2021, the first five Unforgettable Cooking Clubs were launched in the Netherlands. At these clubs, people with dementia and their loved ones can prepare a delicious three-course meal and then sit down and enjoy eating it together. The Cooking Clubs are organised monthly by Resto VanHarte and Alzheimer Nederland. Pleasure, a fun evening out and meeting others with similar experiences are at the heart of the clubs. And mistakes are allowed!
Of the 290,000 people with dementia in the Netherlands, 70% live at home. Gerjoke Wilmink, director of Alzheimer Nederland said:
“One in five people get dementia. The diagnosis is incredibly sad, but it doesn’t mean that life immediately has to come to a halt. Many people become isolated, because of shame or a feeling of having to tiptoe around. Participating for as long as possible and feeling valuable is so very important for every individual, together with a loved one or carer, enjoying such simple pleasures while still able. At the Unforgettable Cooking Club, this is possible. Each doing what they are capable of, and in a safe and welcoming environment.”
Thanks to the fantastic contribution of EUR 418,000 by the participants of the Dutch National Postcode Lottery, Alzheimer Nederland and Resto VanHarte are able to organise Unforgettable Cooking Clubs in thirty locations over the next three years.
“The Unforgettable Cooking Clubs are in line with the mission of Resto VanHarte. We bring people together at the dinner table to tackle loneliness. At the cooking clubs, people with dementia and their loved ones get to know other people living with dementia and get to be active in the kitchen. A wonderful and effective way to tackle loneliness,” explained Polle Janssens, director of Resto VanHarte.
Gerjoke Wilmink also noted:
“The Unforgettable Cooking Club is inspired by the TV programme Restaurant Misverstand (in the UK: The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes). There, we saw that dementia is far-reaching, but also how fellow people with dementia can really support each other. It is valuable to roll up your sleeves together, to achieve something and experience pleasure. We are incredibly proud that we can offer this nationally, starting with five locations.”
Pictured: Participants of the first Unforgettable Cooking Club in Veghel preparing dinner.