An older lady in a group home writes the Japanese word for ‘flower’ in calligraphy, whilst one of her friends chooses what she will cook for dinner: both of them are realising their ikigai. Ikigai is a Japanese word that translates as ‘that which makes one’s life worth living’. The first lady is practising an art form she has developed throughout her life and although, due to dementia, she cannot consistently identify her own family members, she is able to remember how to draw beautiful calligraphy. The second lady, in the early stages of dementia, needs help with some aspects of day-to-day life, but she wants to continue cooking her own food for as long as possible. She has told the live-in carers who support this group of six people living with various stages of dementia, that cooking for herself is important, so they ensure that cooking is an everyday activity and part of her long-term care plan.
Ikigai – Creating space for the spiritual in social care