The team from Specsavers in Darlington 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.
The eyecare experts are completing a Dementia awareness programme which covers two levels of accreditation. Specsavers’ 18,000 UK staff were being encouraged to complete the first stage during Dementia Awareness Week in May.
Having completed the course they become recognised as a Dementia Friends, with a badge to wear on their uniforms to indicate their increased level of dementia awareness to their customers.
More about the initiative
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 the store director
Specsavers clinical spokesman Dr Nigel Best, who is also a director of Darlington Specsavers, 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.’