Specsavers in Larne has been commended for its commitment to becoming a Dementia Friendly store. The store is one of only a few businesses in the local area whose staff have been accredited as Dementia Friends. Nine of the store’s staff completed a training programme provided by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Committed to offering the best service for all our customers

Deirdre McAree, store director, said, ‘A dementia diagnosis brings a number of challenges not only for the individual but also for his or her family and friends. It can become increasingly difficult for the person with dementia to engage in the community particularly when people around them don’t really understand the illness.

‘As a team we are committed to giving to all our customers the very best service and care. We realise that our customers with dementia may need more time and this illness can affect their senses. Undergoing this training was helpful for us to consider the holistic needs of our customers with dementia. Everyone in the team who completed the course now wears a Dementia Friends badge.’

The training course covers all aspects of dementia

The online training course covered all aspects of dementia and showed through a series of scenario based videos how the illness affects people in different ways. With particular relevance to Specsavers it also describes how senses can be affected, including sight and hearing.

Heather Lundy, Dementia Friendly Communities Manager at Alzheimer’s Society said, ‘We are delighted to work with the Larne Specsavers team as part of our Dementia Friends programme. The Dementia Friends initiative is about giving more people an understanding of dementia and the small things they can do to make a difference to people living in their community.

'It makes such a huge difference to people with dementia if those around them know what dementia is and how it might affect them. This is particularly true for businesses like Specsavers as for some people changes in sight and hearing are the first signs of dementia.’

850,000 people with dementia in UK

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. One in six people over the age of 80 have dementia. There are 20,000 people with dementia in Northern Ireland and more than 400 in Larne alone. There are 12,277 Northern Ireland Dementia Friends.

All Larne store information