From 15 - 21 May, businesses nationwide will be throwing their support behind National Dementia Awareness Week, and Specsavers in Croydon is no different.

With three Dementia Friends Champions across their North End and Church Street stores, members of staff are highly skilled in understanding the needs of customers with dementia.

One of these Champions, Tina Gurnett, gives us the lowdown on the importance of her qualification.

Why did you decide to undertake dementia training?

‘It’s an incredibly tragic disease and, unfortunately, we’re really helpless when it comes to treating it. However, it’s important that as customer service professionals, we do our utmost to make our workplace a hospitable and comfortable environment for everyone.

'This training gives us the skills to ensure that people with dementia are treated with the respect and understanding they deserve.’

What are the main things you have learnt?

‘I’ve learned a great deal about the various different forms of Alzheimer’s as a result of the training and have gained a greater understanding of the debilitating nature of the disease.

'From a professional perspective, though, I’ve learned that patience is the key.’

What impact has the training had on your professional development?

‘Undoubtedly, it’s had a significant impact on myself as a professional. Not only am I better equipped to identify signs of Alzheimer’s and the effects it has on people who suffer from it, but I’m also significantly better prepared to accommodate someone with the disease.’

Why should other people seek dementia training?

‘The main reason I would suggest is so that people can gain a sense of empathy for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s, as well as the people given the responsibility to look after them. It’s also really important to raise awareness of the incredible work of charities and organisations involved.

'By becoming a Dementia Friend or Champion, it’s a fantastic opportunity to do just that.’

For more information on how to become a Dementia Friend, visit

All Croydon North End store information

All Croydon Church Street store information

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