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Sainsbury’s supermarket chain is once again leading the way in creating a dementia-friendly shopping experience.

A new weekly scheme has been launched at a Sainsbury’s supermarket in Newcastle-upon-Tyne that’s designed to help elderly and disabled customers and those with dementia to enjoy a more relaxed shopping experience.

Named ‘Slow Shopping’, the session will be trialled every Tuesday from 1pm to 3pm at the Gosforth Sainsbury’s in Newcastle.

Customers will be able to use chairs placed at the end of aisles to provide opportunities for a rest and there’ll be shop assistants on hand for anyone who needs help or is confused.

There will also be two help desks offering free fruit, ginger biscuits and Victoria sponge.

The scheme was first developed by Katherine Vero, whose mother had dementia.

‘My Mum used to love shopping but as her dementia developed it became increasingly difficult and stressful for us both,’ says Katherine.

‘But I didn’t want her to stop going out and become isolated. I wondered if there was a way to help us enjoy shopping. After she passed away I was inspired to come up with the idea of Slow Shopping and was delighted when Sainsbury’s agreed to help me trial it. I hope other retailers will follow.’

Recent research by the Alzheimer’s Society found eight out of ten people with living with dementia enjoy shopping as an activity, but one in four have given up since their diagnosis.

Scott McMahon, deputy store manager at Sainsbury’s Gosforth says:

‘We invest a lot of time in training colleagues in how to help customers with disabilities, so were well placed to go the extra step of putting out chairs and manning help points, but it’s our colleagues who really make the difference.’

It’s not the first time that Sainsbury’s has taken steps to help those affected by dementia. They recently hit the news when a store in Huddersfield worked with local police to help a woman with dementia who had become confused while shopping.

The supermarket giant are the chair of the Retail Task and Finish Group, which is a group of retail companies working with the Alzheimer’s Society to identify best practice for making shops dementia-friendly.

Let’s hope other supermarkets and retailers follow suit…