The teams from Specsavers stores in Thurrock borough are supporting Dementia Friends, an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, to help people develop an understanding of dementia and turn it into action to support customers and employees who are affected by the condition.

Specsavers employees from stores in Grays and intu Lakeside Shopping Centre, along with Specsavers teams nationwide, are completing a Dementia awareness programme.

There are two levels of accreditation, and the 18,000 UK staff were encouraged to complete the first stage during Dementia Awareness Week. In doing so they are recognised as a Dementia Friends, with a badge to wear on their uniforms to indicate their increased level of dementia awareness to their customers.

A word from the eyecare experts

Niki Kaur, store director of Specsavers in Grays, said: ‘Being more aware of dementia is an incredibly positive development for our team and our offering to customers.

‘I always thought dementia was all to do with someone’s memory – but it is much more than that. By uncovering the truth about dementia it really opened my eyes to how at Specsavers, when performing our daily duties, we can all take a little time to support and care.’

More about Dementia Friends

Dementia Friends is completed online and entails watching a series of scenario based videos. The second is a classroom session which builds on the skills, helping participants to wage positive relationships with people with dementia. All Specsavers support offices staff are also being offered the training.

The comprehensive training covers all aspects of dementia and discusses how it affects people in different ways. With particular relevance to Specsavers it also describes how senses can be affected, including sight and hearing.

A word from Specsavers’ clinical spokesman

Specsavers clinical spokesman Dr Nigel Best added: ‘People with dementia may experience problems with their sight which cause them to misinterpret the world around them. In some cases, those living with dementia can experience hallucinations.

‘Specific types of dementia can also damage the visual system and cause visuoperceptual difficulties. These include Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Rarer forms of dementia, such as posterior cortical atrophy can also cause visuoperceptual difficulties. Therefore it is vitally important that we recognise customers with dementia so that we can identify and look after their eyecare needs to the best of our ability.’

All Grays store information and all Lakeside store information

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