Specsavers in Dorset embarks on dementia awareness programme

Specsavers stores in Dorset have taken part in training sessions that allow them to better understand the needs of customers living with dementia.

Teams in Blandford Forum, Dorchester, Poole and Winton in Bournemouth have carried out training as part of the updated Dementia Friends programme – an Alzheimer’s Society initiative that changes the way people think, act and talk about dementia.

The staff are now recognised as ‘Dementia Friends’ and have a badge to wear on their uniforms to let customers know about their increased level of dementia awareness.

All customer-facing employees, including the home visits teams, who provide eyecare to those who are unable to make it to a store, have taken part in the programme.

Sinan Khan, Specsavers Blandford and Poole partner, said: “Being more aware of dementia is an incredibly positive development for our colleagues and our offering to customers in our communities.

“By becoming Dementia Friends, our team feels more confident to ensure any customers living with dementia feel safe and are looked after in a sensitive way. We’re always keen to go the extra mile and support our local community and this development should do exactly that.”

Specsavers first signed up to Dementia Friends in 2019 and so far, around 6,000 staff have become Dementia Friends. The updated programme, created by Alzheimer’s Society, features more interactive modules, updated information and video content.

The training covers every aspect of dementia and discusses how it affects people in different way. In the case of Specsavers, the training will have also described how senses can be affected, including sight and hearing.

Morven Lean, senior strategic change manager at Alzheimer’s Society said: “It’s fantastic to see teams in Dorset take this first step to becoming a dementia-friendly business by inviting its staff to join over 3.4 million Dementia Friends in the UK today.“There are currently 850,000 people in the UK with dementia and this number is set to rise to one million by 2025, so it’s never been more important for businesses, organisations and individuals to tackle the stigma around dementia, and transform the way the nation acts, thinks and talks about the condition.”