This week the National Trust is publicising their partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society. They are embarking on a 3 year plan to make their sites dementia-friendly and accessible. Right on-topic Joyce Bennell, head of Private Client at RLK, talks about her recent dementia friend training, and how this has opened her eyes to the growth of dementia friendly businesses.
A Greater Understanding of Dementia
A little while ago I underwent dementia friend training. I felt it would help me in my daily work if I had a better understanding of the needs of clients who are living with dementia. I found it fascinating and informative. For instance, I had not previously appreciated how dementia affects people’s physical perception of the world. An altered sensory awareness exists alongside the well-known effects on memory and comprehension. For example, black rubber mats can look like gaping holes in the floor to someone with dementia. This then led me to read research undertaken by Dr Adelina Broadbridge at the University of Stirling, concerning cafes and restaurants.
Catering for People with Dementia
Do you visit a café regularly or do you own one? Look around and consider how it would appear to a person with dementia. Is it noisy? Are the signs confusing? Do the staff become impatient if people struggle to cope with ordering or paying?
Dementia Friendly Businesses
Dementia cafes are becoming more common across the country, but there is no reason why other restaurants and cafes can’t be equally welcoming. There’s a business case for making a few changes so that products and services are dementia-friendly. Cases of dementia are on the increase, and so it makes sense to provide a welcoming environment for those affected and their carers. Here are some easy steps to improve cafes or restaurants. Introduce contrasting colours for floors and chairs. Make signs easier to read by writing in lower case instead of capitals. And it is best to place signs at the optimum height from the floor, which is four feet six inches. Serving drinks in coloured glasses is another simple step to take.
Dementia Friendly Staff
Staff can make all the difference to a customer’s experience. For example, leading a patron to a vacant table is much better than pointing one out. And most of all, it is vital that staff do not get noticeably impatient with customers, however busy and time pressed they feel.
Dementia Friendly Businesses, by Joyce Bennell