This Dementia Awareness Week (15-21 May), staff at Specsavers on Cardiff’s Queen Street are celebrating becoming Dementia Friends.

Improving the lives of customers with dementia

A team of seven employees at the city centre opticians successfully completed training to better understand the needs of customers suffering from dementia, as part of the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative, which aims to improve the lives of people with dementia by increasing people’s understanding of the disease.

Those with dementia commonly experience problems with their sight and visual perception, causing them to misinterpret the world around them. Some can experience hallucinations. Research has also revealed that almost half1 of dementia patients in care homes are wearing glasses with the wrong prescription, leading to increased isolation and confusion.

Showing we care

‘We are so proud to have completed this training,’ said Nicola Edwards, retail manager of the Queen Street opticians. ‘Dementia affects an estimated 850,0002 people in the UK at present and that number is expected to rise above a million by 2025.

‘We felt it was important to improve our understanding of living with the condition so we feel better equipped to offer those customers affected by the disease the most thoughtful and helpful service possible, particularly as it can affect both vision and hearing.’

Those who have received the training at Specsavers on Queen Street include retail manager Nicola Edwards, optometrist Rachel Hurford, clinic supervisor Helen Molino, and optical assistants Chris Chopping, Louise Pateman, Lucy Skentlebury and Nadine Davies.

Each will wear a badge on their uniform to indicate their increased level of dementia awareness to customers.

All Queen Street store information

[1], Bowen, M et al (July 2016) The Prevalence of Visual Impairment in People with Dementia