Dementia-friendly retailers

Find out how dementia affects people's experience of shopping, and how retailers can support them.

Image of someone paying for item in a shop

Why it matters

An Alzheimer's Society survey showed that almost 80 per cent of people with dementia listed shopping as their favourite activity.

However, 63 per cent of people surveyed didn't think that shops were doing enough to help people with dementia. Often people stop going shopping as their dementia progresses because they are worried about getting the support they need.

Together with experts from the retail sector, we've produced the Dementia-friendly retail guide, containing information about dementia and how to make your organisation dementia-friendly.

Dementia-friendly retail guide

This free resource is full of dementia-friendly tips and advice for any size of retailer.

Download your copy

Our guide contains information about dementia and how it affects people's experience of shopping.

It has clear tips and guidance to help retailers become more dementia-friendly. You will find information about:

  • How you can improve signage to help people with dementia.
  • How you can support people with dementia who may struggle with paying for products.
  • How to increase staff awareness of dementia and ensure your customer service is dementia-friendly. 

With the help of our guide, we hope that retailers and the wider shopping environment will enable people with dementia to continue shopping for as long as possible, by creating places that understand their needs.

Everything the guide recommends will improve the customer service as a whole. What is good for people with dementia is ultimately good for everyone.

This guide is useful for store managers and employees of large and small retail organisations wishing to improve the dementia friendliness of their store or shopping space.

We need retailers to take action and support people affected by dementia at this difficult time to keep them safe and connected to their community in new and creative ways. Here are some of the key actions you can do today to make a difference to people’s lives:

In store

  • Move away from a guaranteed slot from opening until 11am for a protected ‘Silver hour’ for vulnerable groups and their carers only to complete their shopping
  • Enable elderly and vulnerable customers to enter stores with a companion. The current restrictions on people entering stores can lead to increased anxiety and stress for people living with dementia. 
  • Ensure employees give priority to older or vulnerable people in store by allowing them to go to the front of queue, keeping aside critical items for them to request, and having prepackaged/emergency essential packs ready to buy
  • Ensure hand sanitiser, toilet roll, and other key produce are kept priority for vulnerable customers
  • Ensure cash and cheques are accepted
  • Team up with other local organisations to provide a one stop shop in key facilities, such as rural banks, post offices, and community centres

Online and delivery 

  • Include people living with dementia or those caring for someone living with dementia to your list of vulnerable people,  to ensure they are able to contact your Customer Care line and access priority delivery slots.
  • Reduce minimum order for online shopping to £10-£15 for those over 70 or vulnerable groups
  • Make it possible for a family member or carer to order on behalf of a person living with dementia. 
  • Encourage people living with dementia (or their carers/relatives) to self-identify via an online form hosted on your website (should you have one) and include these people in your next mail out when offering priority delivery slots (irrelevant of whether they are on the government database or not). 
  • Enable people to order deliveries over the phone by making local supermarket phone numbers available via posted letters, local newspapers and local radio
  • Mandate all companies to provide a local free number for people to request delivery
  • Make priority delivery slots available for those over 70, vulnerable groups and their carers, friends or family to order on their behalf
  • Provide a local free number for people to request delivery
  • Dedicate spaces, aisles and checkouts to vulnerable groups so they can complete their shop quickly
  • Ensure online stores are digitally accessible for everyone 
  • Get in touch with local food banks to ensure everyone is getting their shopping. For example, their volunteers could help deliver packages 
  • Ensure delivery drivers know to signpost for people affected by dementia to our Dementia Connect support line 0333 150 3456  for advice and support.
  • Read a blog from Sir Malcom Walker, chairman and chief executive of Iceland Foods Ltd, about what the retailer is doing to support people affected by dementia  
  • Watch a short film about challenges of shopping with dementia that we made with Sainsbury's

Campaigning to create 25,000 Dementia Friends in the convenience sector

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has launched a campaign in collaboration with Alzheimer's Society to help convenience retailers and colleagues better understand and support customers living with dementia.

For their 25th anniversary, ACS is aiming to create 25,000 Dementia Friends in the convenience sector to help customers, colleagues and communities affected by dementia. We want to support people affected by dementia to continue doing the things they love, such as going to their local convenience store to do their shopping and socialise with staff.

Join the campaign

If you're an employee working in a convenience store, you can join the campaign by becoming a Dementia Friend today. It's free and takes just ten minutes!

Visit the Dementia Friends website and enter the code: ACS25 - put your organisation's name in the comments box to ensure that you receive your Dementia Friends badge.

Download the Dementia-friendly retail guide