850,000 people live with dementia in the UK, and research* shows that 8 out of 10 of those with the condition list shopping as their favourite activity. However, 63 per cent of people surveyed don’t think that shops are doing enough to help people with dementia and one in four people with dementia have given up shopping since being diagnosed.
Many cite difficulties with shopping including finding their way around stores, picking up the wrong items, problems at the checkout and worries about staff and other shoppers’ reactions.
More than forty members of Freeport Centre staff and representatives from the retail outlets have attended a Dementia Friends workshop run by Approach, a dementia care organisation which provides a range of support services for local people with dementia and their carers.
Sue Sweatmore, centre manager at Freeport Talke, said more awareness sessions are planned for 2016:
“Everyone has the right to shop safely and we’re working with all our retailers to help them recognize the signs of people in our community with dementia. This awareness day is the first step in our journey to become a dementia friendly destination
“By improving staff awareness and understanding of dementia and working with our retailers to review the physical environment of their stores we want to make a positive difference.”
Will Boyce, chief executive of Approach, said:
“Dementia is one of the biggest health concerns our society faces. We’re all living longer, there are more of us and there’s no cure for dementia. Awareness days like this help to challenge the stigma surrounding the condition and help people with dementia to engage in community life.
“We’re delighted to launch the first of a series of awareness days at Freeport Talke because the footfall is huge and people travel from outside the area from quite some distance.”
Organisations who will be present on the day include: Stoke City Council, Staffordshire Fire & Rescue, Memory Clinic, Saltbox and North Staffs Carers Association.
As well as the launch at Freeport Talke, two more events are planned at Trinity Church in Leek (1 October) and North Staffs Carers Association, Duke Street, Fenton (7 October).
*Research carried out by Alzheimer’s UK.