Sainsbury’s introduce slow-moving ‘relaxed checkout lane’ for elderly customers with dementia who may be ‘overwhelmed’ by ‘cut and thrust of the aisles’
- The checkouts will allow the elderly to pay for their shopping at a slower pace
- Bosses have already tried the idea at a store in Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne
- They hope to roll it out across the country for shoppers with the condition
- The trial is being run with Alzheimer’s Scotland in partnership with Dementia Friendly Prestwick
Supermarket Sainsbury’s are trialling a new ‘relaxed lane’ for people who suffer from dementia.
The checkouts will allow the elderly to pay for their shopping at a slower pace.
Bosses have already tried the idea at a store in Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, but hope it could be rolled out across the country.
Staff have received extra training to help them look after shoppers who have the condition.
Currently, Sainsbury’s are also testing the idea at a branch in Prestwick, South Ayrshire, where managers hope it will allow those with the condition more time to pay for their groceries.
Supermarket Sainsbury’s are trialling a new ‘relaxed lane’ for people who suffer from dementia
The trial is being run with Alzheimer’s Scotland in partnership with Dementia Friendly Prestwick.
It is a programme which aims to help sufferers remain part of their community for as long as possible.
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.
Staff at the shop have received extra training to help them look after shoppers who have the condition
Jim Baird from Alzheimer’s Scotland added: ‘The hope is that it will allow people with dementia just that bit more time to do their shopping without being under the pressure of the normal cut and thrust of aisles.
‘It becomes very popular for a variety of people who want a bit more time to do their shopping.
‘It goes beyond dementia to the blind, the deaf, people with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, it becomes a magnet for people who want to do their shopping at a much more relaxed pace.
‘People with dementia have issues with spacial awareness and sequencing and just need that bit more time to be able to fulfill functions which other people find natural.
‘We are very hopeful that the pilot will work and will be extended across other stores.’
He added: ‘They recognise that one of the key issues of dementia is that it leads to social isolation, people being unsure of leaving their house, unsure of doing the things that would have come naturally to them.
‘If they are made to feel awkward or uncomfortable doing the things that they used to do all the time, you are taking them away from social interaction.’
Sainsbury’s ran a similar trial at their store in Gosforth in 2016, which is now permanent.
It is hoped other stores will adopt the idea.
Liverpool became the first city in the UK to introduce ‘fast-walking lanes’ in 2015.
It was hoped it would allow shoppers in a rush to navigate those walking at a slower pace through the town centre.
It was an initiative introduced by catalogue retailer Argos with the plan trialled close to one of its stores.
Research found almost half (47%) of shoppers found slow walkers was their biggest annoyance.
However, the lanes were removed in 2017 after what they described as a ‘short term trial.’ It is not known whether they will be re-introduced.
Michelle Miller, a volunteer for Dementia Friends Prestwick, tweeted about the pilot scheme, saying: ‘Just visited @sainsburys Prestwick newly launched ‘Relaxed Lane’ open 10am-6pm, lane 24, with hearing loop, dementia friends trained staff, supporting people who need a bit more time or support at checkout.’
Another user, Victoria Collier, responded: ‘What a great way to support those who want/need a little more time at the checkout.’
Dementia isn’t a specific disease, but instead describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning.
Around 850,000 people are estimated to be living with dementia in the UK. That figure is set to leap to a million by 2025.
A Sainsbury’s spokesman 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.’
Tesco also trialled a ‘relaxed’ checkout aisle at their store in Forres, Moray, in January last year.
WHAT IS DEMENTIA? THE KILLER DISEASE THAT ROBS SUFFERERS OF THEIR MEMORIES
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of neurological disorders
A GLOBAL CONCERN
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders, that is, conditions affecting the brain.
There are many different types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.
Some people may have a combination of types of dementia.
Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will experience their dementia in their own unique way.
Dementia is a global concern but it is most often seen in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live into very old age.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?
The Alzheimer’s Society reports there are more than 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today, of which more than 500,000 have Alzheimer’s.
It is estimated that the number of people living with dementia in the UK by 2025 will rise to over 1 million.
In the US, it’s estimated there are 5.5 million Alzheimer’s sufferers. A similar percentage rise is expected in the coming years.
As a person’s age increases, so does the risk of them developing dementia.
Rates of diagnosis are improving but many people with dementia are thought to still be undiagnosed.
IS THERE A CURE?
Currently there is no cure for dementia.
But new drugs can slow down its progression and the earlier it is spotted the more effective treatments are.
Source: Dementia UK
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