relaxed lane

The supermarket giant has already been running the initiative at a store in Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, for nearly two years and has now introduced Slow Shopping at a branch in Prestwick in South Ayrshire. Staff at the store have been given training to help them support shoppers with dementia.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said: “Our aim is to be the most inclusive retailer and we want all of our customers to have a great shopping experience in our stores.“There are many aspects of a visit to the supermarket which can be stressful for those with dementia, so by trialling a slow shopping option we hope we can make their lives easier.”

The idea of Slow Shopping came from Katherine Vero who lives in Newcastle and used to find it hard to go shopping with her mother who had dementia. Alzheimer’s Society revealed that eight out of ten of the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK list shopping as their favourite activity. However, since being diagnosed, one in four have given up shopping.

Katherine Vero, founder of Slow Shopping said: “My mum used to love shopping but as her dementia developed it became increasingly difficult and stressful for us both. But I didn’t want her to stop going out and become isolated. I wondered if there was a way to help us enjoy shopping.

“After she passed away I was inspired to come up with the idea of Slow Shopping and was delighted when Sainsbury’s agreed to help me trial it. I hope other retailers will follow.”

Gosforth store began the initiative two years ago when it was approached by Katherine. The service includes chairs at the end of aisles for people needing a rest. Staff are also on hand to help customers with their shopping.

The trial at the Prestwick store is being backed by Alzheimer’s Scotland in partnership with Dementia Friendly Prestwick.

Paul Edwards, director of clinical services at Dementia UK, said: ‘We welcome all initiatives which show an understanding of the challenges that people with dementia live with on a day-to-day basis.

“Clashing noises, fast-paced environments and bright lights can be quite overwhelming for people with dementia.

“Sainsbury’s idea for a slower lane is exactly the type of patient, considerate move that helps people with dementia to continue living fulfilling lives.”

Jim Baird, spokesperson for Alzheimer’s Scotland hopes the initiative will help people with dementia to shop in a calmer environment “without being under the pressure of the normal cut and thrust of aisles”.

He said it will also help people with vision and hearing loss as well as those with Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinsons.


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