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The Alzheimer’s Society are launching a guide aimed at giving shops suggestions and ideas to make the shopping experience more enjoyable for those with dementia

A recent survey carried out by the Alzheimer’s Society found 8 out of 10 people with dementia list shopping as their favourite activity.

However, 63% of those surveyed felt shops were still not doing enough for people with dementia, and one in four have given up shopping since their diagnosis.

That’s why the Society have launched Becoming a dementia friendly retailer, a practical guide which is aimed at a range of retailers from corner-shop owners to large megastore managers on retail parks.

Some of the common challenges and difficulties that people with dementia cite include finding their way around stores, picking up wrong items, confusion at the checkout and worries about the way staff and other shoppers will behave around them.

The guide contains information about how dementia can affect a shopping experience and practical tips on how retailers can support customers, including store layout design and giving all staff Dementia Friends training.

The guide sets out four commitments that retailers can promise to do to help their customers with dementia:

1. Improve staff awareness and understanding of dementia
2. Review the physical environment of the store/premises
3. Support staff who develop dementia or care for a person with dementia
4. Support the local community

Ann Johnson, an Alzheimer’s Society ambassador who is living with dementia, said:

‘The guide is important to people who are living with dementia, their friends and family and to the staff in shops and supermarkets because it will help them understand our problems and how they can help.

‘The problems people with dementia might have include counting money, finding the correct item, using toilets, finding their way around the store or finding their way out. It is often the simplest things that help best and if staff are aware of this it will help.’

The guide was developed by the Retail Task and Finish Group, which is a group of retail companies and chaired by Sainsbury’s, who work with the Alzheimer’s Society to identify best practice for making shops dementia friendly.

The supermarket was in the news recently after they worked alongside local police to help a woman with dementia who had become confused when shopping in one of their stores, helping to keep her calm, and even letting her have her purchases for free as she’d forgotten her wallet.

Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Jeremy Hughes, said:

‘Sadly, people tell us they often stop going shopping as their dementia progresses because they are worried about getting the support they need. In turn, this can lead to people with dementia feeling socially isolated.

‘Everyone has the right to be able to shop comfortably and we all have a role in helping people with dementia feel like a part of their community.

‘We are extremely proud to launch this guide and congratulate all those retailers who are already paving the way to transforming the retail experience for people with dementia.

‘We fully hope other retailers will be encouraged to follow in their footsteps, and use this guide to make a huge difference to people living with dementia because a trip to the shops means they can remain active members of their communities.’

Source: Alzheimer’s Society