Becoming a dementia-friendly retailer

How to become a dementia friendly retailer

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 a guide containing information about dementia and how it affects people's experience of shopping, and tips and guidance to help retailers become more dementia-friendly. There are also details of additional resources and tools to support them.

With the help of this guide, we hope that retailers and the wider shopping environment – ie shopping centres, retail parks and high streets – will enable people with dementia to continue shopping for as long as possible by creating places that understand their needs.

Becoming more dementia friendly for the retail industry means:

  • understanding the impact of dementia and how it changes customer needs
  • considering how a store’s processes and services can help customers affected by dementia
  • using this guidance to make changes within the store or retail space. This could include raising staff awareness or making changes to the physical environment
  • supporting people who may be showing signs of dementia, whether they are customers or employees.

The guide contains information about dementia and how it affects people's experience of shopping, and tips and guidance to help retailers become more dementia-friendly. There are also details of additional resources and tools to support them.

Basic areas of improvement

  • Signposting: helping a person who may have dementia to find entrances exits and toilets is something all staff should be aware of, particularly thosewho spend the most time in these areas, such as security staff.
  • Assistance: store layouts can be very confusing for people with dementia. Approaching customers to ask whether they need help to find an item willbenefit everyone, not just people with dementia.
  • Payment: if somebody appears to be struggling with payment, colleaguesshould offer to help people by counting out their money or allowing someone to sign instead of needing to use a chip and pin card.
  • Practical support: offering all customers help with packing at the checkout benefits everyone. For people with dementia, it means they do not have to ask for assistance if they are feeling rushed or struggling to remember which items they would usually bag together/separately.
  • Dementia-friendly customer service: greater awareness of dementia among staff will help to ensure that they are patient, and listen to customers who may have dementia and offer them clear and straightforward answers.

Why become a dementia-friendly retailer?

Many people with dementia consider shopping to be one of their favourite activities, but often do not feel confident in continuing to shop independently as their dementia progresses, due to difficulties faced in navigating the shopping environment and worry over getting the support they need

With the help of this guide, we hope that retailers and the wider shopping environment - i.e. shopping centres, retail parks and high streets - will enable people with dementia to continue shopping for as long as possible by creating places that understand their needs.

Who is the guide for?

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 by making simple changes, such as improving customer service and reviewing store layouts.

This guide has been produced by members of our Retail Task & Finish Group, as part of the Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia 2020. These members include individuals from Sainsbury's, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the Co-operative Group, among others (full list to be found inside the guide).

Download the guide