Chester Tesco innovates with first dementia-friendly checkout

A Tesco store in Chester has taken a positive stand in its quest to make shopping trips easier for those affected by dementia, by launching its first dementia-friendly checkout.

The checkout which is positioned centrally in the Frodsham Street store has been specially designed and has a large sign above it. It is manned by members of staff who have undertaken NHS and Alzheimer’s Society “Dementia Friends” training, and who will be happy to provide assistance , allowing  extra time and support for those living with dementia and their carers.

The idea came into being when Compliance Manager at the store, Hayley Sale, and colleagues attended a Dementia Friends training session with Andy Tysoe, an NHS Dementia Nurse and Dementia Friends Champion.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve the shopping trip for our customers and to support our local community,” commented Hayley.

“When we spoke to Andy we knew that helping people who are living with dementia would be a huge benefit and so we’re happy to be installing the signs and training our colleagues to be dementia friends here in Chester.”

Working in collaboration with Andy and customers at the store who are currently living with dementia, the team set to work on implementing the checkout idea, exploring different images and logos before agreeing on a final design.

The checkout was opened in time to mark Dementia Awareness Week on 18th May by two of those involved in the project, Tommy Dunne and Gina Shaw.

Tommy told me he usually pays with notes in shops nowadays as he doesn’t recognise the coins and doesn’t like to hold people up trying to work it out as it gets quite stressful for him", explained Hayley.

“Not in our shop! We have pictures of coins to help with this and the checkout is manned by colleagues who have attended Andy’s sessions.There’s a reminder of the value of coins at the checkout.”

“I think one of the best things about this is that general awareness has gone up, not just for colleagues but for customers too. The checkout isn’t exclusively for people with dementia but our shoppers are now aware that people in that queue may need a little more time to get through, so overall everyone is a little more understanding.”

Andy Tysoe , a memory nurse at Countess of Chester Hospital came up with the idea of providing cognitive prompts, such as help with coin recognition.

He explained, “Basically, if you are physically disabled, you would expect a physical ramp to help you into buildings and though services. We now need to do the same for people with cognitive or ‘thinking’ disabilities and that’s exactly what Tesco are leading on."

“The foundation of a cognitive ramp for me would include more time and understanding and that’s exactly what this till will provide, along with de-cluttering the area and providing pictures of coins to help with recognition.”

​Here at Local Dementia Guide, we’d like to congratulate all at Chester Tesco for leading the way!

This is a great initiative that really has the power to make life easier on a daily basis for those coping with dementia.We hope that this initiative will be rolled out in other Tesco stores around the country, and other supermarkets will now be inspired to follow suit.

Source articles: Chester Chronicle 3/5/15   and   International Supermarket News 16/7/15

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  • 23 July 2015