Handok Wins Minister of Health Award for Its Memory Café Campaign
Handok won the Minister of Health and Welfare Award at the World Alzheimer’s Day Event held at Seoul City Hall on September 16 for the contribution it has made to dementia awareness through the Memory Café campaign it organizes together with the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG).
Handok and the SMG have been organizing the Memory Café campaign since 2018 to raise public awareness of senile dementia. Seniors diagnosed with mild cognitive impairments or mild forms of senile dementia participate in the campaign as special baristas making coffee and other beverages in food trucks. The rule for all participants is to accept and understand even if they are served drinks different from what they ordered. The campaign intends to help participants understand senile dementia better and accept the fact that many seniors with it can continue to function as active members of society.
The campaign has been lauded for effectively helping the public outgrow misunderstandings of senile dementia by showing that seniors actually diagnosed with cognitive impairment and dementia can still interact with others and function in society at large. For this, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon presented a plaque of gratitude to Handok at the World Alzheimer’s Day event in 2018. Other local governments have also begun to benchmark the campaign in developing their own senile dementia care programs and services.
The Memory Café is a joint effort by Handok and the SMG and runs during a fixed period of time each year. The campaign also coincides with the annual senile dementia campaign run by care centers of the 25 self-governing boroughs in Seoul. In June 2018, the parties launched the Memory Café campaign in the plaza in front of City Hall and took the coffee-serving food truck to the 25 borough offices and their senile dementia care centers throughout the following month. It featured nearly 80 senior baristas who together served over 10,000 people. This year, the campaign was expanded to reach more young people and families, with the baristas and their truck visiting Hongik, Sookmyung, and Dongkuk University campuses as well as Gwanghwamun Plaza and the Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market in Banpo. Over 150 messages of support emerged on social media, garnering more than 13,000 likes from inspired members of the public rooting for seniors.