Countywide Charity Has Made all its Shops Dementia Friendly

A Hospice Charity which cares for children, adults and young people from across Essex has made all their shops dementia friendly.

Havens Hospices, which includes Fair Havens Hospice, Little Havens Hospice and The J’s Hospice, has taken steps to ensure their 23-shops are dementia friendly environments so that customers and volunteers can feel that they are in a safe and secure place where they can feel welcome and understood. They also enrolled all their Shop Managers on the Dementia Friends course to help them and their staff to recognise the signs of dementia and support their customers if they were vulnerable.

850,000 people currently live with dementia in the UK and the numbers are set to rise to over 1 million by 2025, so ensuring that everyone is aware of the needs of those experiencing the illness is becoming more and more important. That is why, as part of Dementia Action Week from 20th to 26th May, The Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging more individuals and organisations to become Dementia Friends.

Thousands of people living with dementia feel lonely or have lost touch with their friends, so the theme this year is to encourage inclusion. A survey by the Alzheimer’s Society showed that almost 80 per cent of people with dementia listed shopping as their favourite activity, so taking steps to make sure the experience is enjoyable for them is an ideal way to help prevent feelings of isolation.

Havens Hospice Clinical Nurse Practice Facilitator Liz Brewer oversees the dementia training for the organisation

“The hospice shops all have someone in them who has done the Dementia Friends course,” she says, “and the kinds of strategies they learn include not talking too loudly, allowing time for the individual to answer a question, and being patient when waiting for responses. That will hopefully eventually filter out into the community and become a role model for behaviour that other people can then learn and demonstrate.”

The changes made to ensure the shops are welcoming to people with dementia have been easy to do and make a big difference.

“We need to make people feel included. Simple things like the layout of the shop can make all the difference as when you have dementia, you can see things differently – a glossy surface can be seen as wet, for example, so we take all of that into account,” says Caroline Mitchell, Manager of Havens Hospices Stanford-Le-Hope shop.

“Our shops also have Dementia Information for people who have concerns to take away with them.” She added.

The Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends programme aims to transform the way the way people think, act and talk about the condition and aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition. To find out more please click here [https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/] and for more information on Dementia Action Week click here [https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/dementia-action-week].

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