Community Contribution Initiatives by People with Dementia


Opening the Day Service for community contribution

In 2016, the Day Service “Working Day Wakaba” was opened in a residential area in Kamakura City, where the aging rate is 46%. It is a small Day Service with nine staff members. 90% of the users of this Day Service are people with dementia, and there are currently two people with early-onset dementia using the service. At Working Day Wakaba, we carry out community contribution activities such as cleaning playground equipment in nearby parks, planting and watering flowers in flower beds, cleaning the sidewalks of the shopping streets, and mowing the grass in older adults’ homes in residential areas. Also, we ask users of the facility to cook and serve lunch, serve the tea, wash and clean up, and disinfect equipment that has been used as a measure against Covid-19. We receive job requests from the community group. In addition, it is the job of the Day Service users to package and mail out public relations magazines of other local organizations.

Activities of Working Day Service

Every morning, we go to the park with rags, rakes, and sickles. Everyone uses these tools and cleans the place carefully. The tasks are adjusted according to the progress of dementia of each person, and we divide the roles to proceed with the cleaning. The simple tasks of sweeping the fallen leaves, mowing the grass, watering the flowers, and wiping playground equipment utilize procedural memory (the memory of body movements), so even people from a slight degree to a moderate degree of dementia can perform these activities without any problems.

In our day service, people with dementia write activity journals. Most people have memory problems, they don’t remember what happened 10 minutes ago, but the staff supports them to arouse their memory and tell them what to write in the notebook. Every time they write, they face the problem of forgetting, but still, they do their best to write the notebook. Being aware of the forgetfulness may lead to anxiety, but by writing the diary, even with having dementia, the people encourage each other and create supportive relationships. This is because accepting awareness of the condition is no longer a pain and can also increase self-affirmation.
Sometimes we get remuneration for mowing the elderly’s houses and packing advertising magazines. We put a 500-yen as a full-house bonus (a Japanese tradition used in theaters, kabuki, sumo events, etc. where usually the owner of the building inserts a 500-yen coin in an envelope and distributes it to employees and performers when the event has its maximum capacity of audience) distributing the compensation to all members. In addition, we focus on other members’ skills and abilities, like knitting coasters and sewing masks, making small plates and accessories using ceramics, displaying paintings at community exhibitions, and selling goods at events.

The conception of contributing to the community in the day service was born when walking in the park of a residential area, and suddenly I noticed the rusted playgrounds, grass growing wildly, and the accumulation of trash and leaves all over the park. That was proof that children were not playing there. When I thought that even people with dementia could clean the playgrounds and the surrounding space, the plan for community contribution for the day service came to my mind.
In September 2016, when we opened Working Day Wakaba, I immediately went with the users to the nearby parks and started cleaning. The users and staff of the day service wiped the playgrounds, mowed the grass, and collected the fallen leaves. Picking up one simple leaf requires bending the body, so when I explained that these activities could have the effect of maintaining and improving the body’s flexibility and muscle strength, care managers and other people came to realize how beneficial it could be.

Flowerbeds maintenance activities by people with dementia

Three months after the establishment of the day service, I proposed the provision of flowerbeds in the parks to the neighborhood association. It was recognized that we had cleaned many parks, so our request was approved. Right away, I was waiting to discuss what kind of flowerbeds we would create with the users of the day service. We adopted many opinions received from the users. “I would like the neighbors to see beautiful flowers,” “for everyone,” “they can have fun in a clean space,” “a place children and parents can gather and take good care of,” let’s create that park. After we settled the concept, we summarized the results into minutes that we submitted to the neighborhood association. When we finished the flowerbeds, we asked the children that were playing in the parks if they wanted to help us plant the flowers.
During the cleaning, sometimes the mothers express their gratitude by saying “thank you as always.” That leads to increased motivation of each person. It is significant to carry out these activities in residential areas. Community contribution activities realized by people with dementia help in eliminating prejudices against dementia. In the community, people with dementia become the core, and by doing these activities it brings opportunities to create a people-friendly and inclusive area where everyone can support each other.
And above all, while having difficulties in living, inconveniences, and anxiety due to dementia, when they feel the wind, air, and sunlight on their skin and get to spend time with children and local people, it makes the condition of dementia as mild as possible. I think it makes sense for people who attend the day service to play an active role in creating a town where people with dementia can live with peace of mind.


Hideki Inada
CEO of Sakura Community Care Service Co., Ltd.
Working Day Wakaba Supervisor















ワーキングデイわかば 管理者

1961年 東京生まれ、

Born in Tokyo, 1961. In 2011, the community dementia day service “Care Salon Sakura” and the general incorporated association, Kamakura Dementia Network, were established in Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture. In 2016, the Community Contribution Day Service “Working Day Wakaba” was opened for people with dementia. He formed a folk duo (Hide 2) with someone with dementia and started doing musical performances and giving lectures. While implementing social participation activities for people with dementia, he also works on creating a network for dementia supporters, people with dementia, and their families. CEO of Sakura Community Care Service Co. Ltd., Kamakura Dementia Network Representative Director, Long-term care welfare officer, social welfare manager, dementia care specialist. Author of the QOL Publishing, “Inspirational Art Crafts.”

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