Cooking up a stress-free meal

Ann McDade, care assistant.
Ann McDade, care assistant.

People with memory problems can enjoy a meal ‘out’ with family and friends thanks to an innovative Milngavie day care centre initiative.

Oakburn Park Day Care, run by care and housing provider Bield, has seen huge demand for ‘Wee Betty’s Bistro’, a restaurant style setting at the development.

The concept came about after staff, recognising that people who use their service experience feelings of anxiety when they are put in unfamiliar surroundings, were determined to ensure that they could still enjoy the simple experience of dining out.

Wee Betty’s Bistro runs once a month and sees the development’s common room transformed into a restaurant, allowing people the opportunity to dine out with friends and family in a safe and controlled environment.

The innovative service was named after Elizabeth MacKenzie, who attended Oakburn Park on the first day it opened and stayed there until she sadly passed away in 2014 not long before her 102nd birthday. Staff, who called her ‘Wee Betty’, chose to name the bistro ‘Wee Betty’s Bistro’ in her honour.

Oakburn Park has now opened up the bistro to those in surrounding housing or care homes who want to dine in similar surroundings.

Donna McCallum, deputy manager at Oakburn Park, said: “Much to our delight, Wee Betty’s Bistro has been a roaring success and is something we hope to continue at our development.

“So many of our staff have seen how difficult things such as going out for dinner can be for older people with memory difficulties. It’s quite often the case that when they do go out for dinner, many get anxious or stressed due to unfamiliar surroundings, which can be upsetting for them and their families. The bistro is particularly great for the likes of birthday celebrations and family meals because the stress and hassle is taken away.”

And in an attempt to open the Wee Betty’s Bistro to others in the local area, the development offers a taxi service to and from Oakburn Park.

Aileen Morton of Bield, said: “The staff have worked incredibly hard to create a setting that not only ensures diners are comfortable, but also offers a real restaurant experience which is just amazing.’’