Wee Betty’s Bistro Cooks Up a Storm

photo 2A day care centre in Milngavie has cooked up an innovative service that allows people with any form of memory impairment to have an enjoyable dining experience with their friends and family.

Oakburn Park Day Care, run by leading care and housing provider Bield, has seen huge demand for ‘Wee Betty’s Bistro’, a ‘Come Dine With Me’ 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.

“This is one of the primary reasons as to why we have set up this valuable service and we are delighted to see that it has taken off with great success.

“It’s all about creating a relaxing and calming atmosphere that our diners feel safe in. The bistro is particularly great for the likes of birthday celebrations and family meals because the stress and hassle is taken away.”

Donna added: “When coming up with the name, it just seemed like the right thing to do to call it Wee Betty’s Bistro.

“Betty had been with us for such a long time and so when deciding on the bistro’s name, Wee Betty just seemed to fit and we are thrilled with it.”

Since opening, the project has gone from strength to strength. 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 making the service accessible to others.

Aileen Morton, Marketing Officer at Bield, said: “We are delighted and so proud of the success that Wee Betty’s Bistro has had.

“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.

“We feel that services such as these really encompass our ‘free to be’ ethos, meaning that service users can make their own choices about how they live their lives while being there to support them when they need it.

“We hope to see Wee Betty’s Bistro continue as 2015 progresses as we feel it’s a truly beneficial service and really does play a pivotal role in enriching the lives of those who use our service.”