As the nation marks Dementia Awareness Week (15-21 May), the team at Specsavers in Greenford are becoming qualified to better understand the needs of customers suffering from dementia.

Alzheimer's Society initiative

The Greenford team are completing Dementia Friends training, an initiative run by the Alzheimer’s Society. In doing so, they become recognised as a Dementia Friends with a badge to wear on their uniforms to indicate their increased level of dementia awareness to customers. Specsavers’ home- and care home-visiting teams – Specsavers Healthcall – are also completing the training.

Nawaz Haque, store director in Greenford, says: ‘Dementia is such a complex and growing issue. There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, and the number is set to rise to over one million by 2025.

It’s vital that we start planning for this and looking at how we will be able to manage these patients in the future.

Online and practical training 

Our Dementia Friends training is completed online and entails watching a series of scenario based videos. The second is a classroom session which builds on these skills, helping participants to develop positive relationships with people with dementia.

All Specsavers support office staff are also being offered the training.

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 Greenford store information