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

Alzheimer's Society initiative

The Stanmore 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.

Poonam Patel, store director of Stanmore, 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.

Positive development

'Meeting customers’ needs on a professional level is always at the forefront of Specsavers desires. The training ensures we are continuing to provide the same excellent service that we pride ourselves on, regardless of the personal struggles any of our customers may be facing.

'I’m delighted we can now offer this to the local community of Stanmore. Being more aware of dementia is an incredibly positive development for our team and our offering to customers.’

Online and practical training

Dementia Friends 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.

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.

All Stanmore store information