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What Are The Benefits Of Dementia-Friendly Businesses? - 15 May 2017
15 May 2017

What Are The Benefits Of Dementia-Friendly Businesses?

What Are The Benefits Of Dementia-Friendly Businesses?

As this year’s Dementia Awareness Week runs from May 14th to 20th, now is the ideal time to focus on how communities can make life easier for people living with dementia. Studies have shown that when dementia sufferers have the support of their local community, they tend to have a better quality of life.

Whether you are a carer for a family member living with dementia or run a care home that cares for residents with dementia, you would most probably be sad to hear that according to the Alzheimer's Society, up to one-third of dementia sufferers don’t feel like part of their local community. Another statistic shows that just under half of all dementia sufferers think that their community has the potential to help them live a happier and more enjoyable life, which is a much more positive statistic as it suggests that there is hope.

A lot of businesses, from startups to larger corporations, are taking steps to ensure that they are as dementia-friendly as possible. These businesses understand the profound effect dementia can have on a person’s daily life, from impacting their ability to recall recent events and communicate properly to having problems with their sight and struggling to form emotional responses to situations. Taking into account the issues that dementia sufferers face, businesses are able to make dementia sufferers experiences better by becoming more dementia-friendly.

The question is, how can companies become dementia-friendly and what are the benefits?

What barriers do people with dementia face?

Studies have shown that when it comes to going out in public, there are certain psychological, physical, and emotional barriers that people living with dementia face. These barriers can put them off of going outside because they can make them too anxious to feel comfortable out of their safe zone - their home or care home. The most common barriers include:

  • Feeling a lack of confidence.
  • Being worried about getting confused.
  • Worrying about getting lost.
  • Being worried about getting around and mobility.
  • Not wanting to burden others.
  • Not having adequate transport to get around.

What are the benefits of a more dementia-friendly community?

There are many benefits that come with creating a more dementia-friendly community, these include:

  • People living with dementia feel confident and safe enough to leave the house.
  • They know that dementia is no reason to feel embarrassed and aren’t scared of being discriminated against because of it.
  • They know that if they get confused or lost, there is help at hand from local businesses and other community aids, such as befrienders.
  • There are adequate community wheelchairs and electric wheelchairs for people with dementia to use, to make getting around easier and less stressful for them.
  • People with dementia know that transport will not only be reliable but will be able to meet their specific needs, such as having toilet breaks more often.

How can companies become more dementia-friendly?

When it comes to how businesses can become more dementia-friendly, there are some simple steps that can help. From restaurants and cafes to retailers and sports centres, these simple steps can help to build a more dementia-friendly community.

Offer reassurance and understanding
Ensure that each and every employee is trained to recognise the signs of dementia, such as someone who seems dazed, confused, or scared, and knows how to reassure them and treat them with understanding and kindness.

Communicate slowly and clearly
People with dementia struggle with language, which is why it’s important to talk to them slowly and clearly. Using simple phrases can make it easier to communicate with someone suffering from dementia.

Create a dementia-friendly environment
For those living with dementia, environments that are too noisy and busy can cause stress and upset. That’s why it’s important for businesses to consider how their environment may impact a dementia sufferer, making changes to make their business a more dementia-friendly place, such as turning the music down and offering quiet shopping times especially for dementia sufferers where no one else is allowed in the store apart from people with dementia - a lot of supermarkets now offer quiet shopping times to make life easier for people living with autism spectrum disorder.

Offer practical assistance
If a dementia sufferer is struggling with a certain task, businesses should be willing to offer them help and support with that task.

Be practical
If a dementia sufferer can’t remember their pin number, offer them an alternative payment method, such as paying via cheque or touchless card. The easier businesses and the community as a whole can make life for dementia sufferers, the better quality of life they will have.

Create a community code
A great way that the entire local community can come together to help people living with dementia is to create a community code. The code could state that every business will work to make life easier for dementia sufferers, as will the community as a whole. If a dementia sufferer is seen to be struggling, there will always be help at hand, whether they are doing their shopping or out for a wander. Perhaps a badge could be created for dementia sufferers to wear so that people within the community are able to help and support them.

There you have it, everything that you need to know about building a dementia friendly community with dementia-friendly businesses at the forefront of it. For those living with dementia, having a whole community behind them, helping to improve their quality of life and make their day to day lives easier, is a big deal. The famous dementia villages in Sweden and Norway have proved that a supportive and inclusive community is all it takes to help dementia sufferers to enjoy life and get as much out of it as possible.  

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