Project to help people shopping with dementia launched in Raheny

Aoibhín Bryant

SuperValu Raheny have begun an initiative to aid people with dementia with their shopping.

A project that aims to make a supermarket more accessible to people with dementia and their carers has been launched in the Raheny area.

This pilot project, known as “Getting the Messages”, was started by councillor Deidre Heney for Fianna Fail, it aspires to make everyday life easier for people living with dementia as well as their carers.

The business Supervalu Raheny was chosen for the pilot project. Every Wednesday from 2pm to 4:30pm, initiatives will take place that make the shopping experience easier.

“Over the last 5 or 6 years I’ve become very aware of the pain, distress and sadness carers of loved ones living with dementia experience, especially those who are caring for a loved one at home,” said Heney. “I want to see us as a society, looking at the disease as a normal part of life and include people living with dementia as well as their carers in everything we do”

“I look forward to the success of this project in SuperValu Raheny and hope that “Getting the Messages” will extend throughout the entire village so that we can experience a dementia inclusive shopping experience every Wednesday afternoon in the entire village” she continued.

A “dementia-friendly” supermarket involves having seating areas around the shop in case of fatigue, helping customers find what they’re looking for,  turning down the music and signs up containing directions to toilet facilities and the first aid base. Gillian Cranmer, a general assistant of Supervalu Raheny was given training in how to make the customer’s experience “as easy as possible”.

“It’s just about keeping everything calm and not overpowering anyone” she said.

Tina Leonard, Head of Advocacy & Public Affairs of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland has welcomed the initiative. “Creating awareness and improving inclusion are vital to overcome the daily challenges facing those living with dementia and their carers in local communities”  she commented.

“Dementia-inclusive initiatives such as this can see organisations, businesses and communities be more informed and enabled to support people with dementia and their loved ones to stay living well in their own communities in an environment that is most familiar to them”

It is estimated that 55,000 people in Ireland are currently living with dementia, with 63 per cent of people with dementia residing in their own homes and in local communities.

The “Getting The Messages” campaign is sponsored by Dublin City Council and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

By Aoibhín Bryant

Image credit: Yellow Place