Specsavers’ optical and hearing teams become Dementia Friends
Specsavers employees have been
completing Dementia Friends training
With visual impairments common among those with dementia, Specsavers is ensuring a trip to the opticians and audiologists is as comfortable as possible for them.
In the run up to Dementia Awareness Week (15-21 May), Specsavers employees nationwide have been completing Dementia Friends training, an initiative run by the Alzheimer’s Society. Every store now has at least one team member who is qualified to better understand the needs of customers with dementia. The Specsavers Healthcall teams that carry out home visits are similarly completing the training.
Specsavers is also using Dementia Awareness Week to remind anyone over 55 to undergo regular hearing tests, as research suggests that people with untreated hearing loss are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Hearing tests are free at Specsavers.
Dr Nigel Best, Specsavers clinical spokesperson, says: ‘People with dementia may not be able to recognise or articulate the issues that many of us face when we begin to lose our sight or hearing – but the effects are the same. Being more aware of dementia is an incredibly positive development for our teams and our offering to customers.’
Those with dementia commonly experience problems with their sight and visual perception, causing them to misinterpret the world around them. Some sufferers can experience hallucinations. On top of that, research has revealed that almost half* of dementia patients in care homes are wearing glasses with the wrong prescription, leading to increased isolation.
Laura Stallerbrass, store manager at Specsavers Forfar, has put all her team through the training, ‘We aim to provide a safe environment for all of our customers. I can definitely see a shift in attitudes to dementia which is lovely to experience.’
*Bowen, M et al (July 2016) The Prevalence of Visual Impairment in People with Dementia