The County You Live, Work And Play
Dementia Pilot Project
Over 40 businesses in Hamilton have signed up to a pilot project that will make the town centre dementia-friendly.
The move comes as a new report estimates nearly 5000 aged over 65 have been diagnosed with the condition in South Lanarkshire.
Staff in shops will be given tips on how to recognise a person who may have dementia, and how best to help them.
South Lanarkshire Council have teamed up with Alzheimer Scotland, the Seniors Together Project and South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture for the initiative.
Motherwell has been dementia-friendly for some time now and has picked up a number of accolades for the work done there.
A report, given to councillors on the Equal Opportunities Forum, said: “It is now proposed to pilot the toolkit in South Lanarkshire to ensure those living here can experience the same benefits. Already over 40 businesses have been identified in Hamilton town centre that are willing to take part in the pilot stage of the project.”
The businesses include Wilko, South Lanarkshire Libraries and Museums, Marks and Spencer, Boots, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB, Pound shop, Iceland, Primark, Evans, Vogue, Jilts, Holland and Barrett, Card Factory, WH Smith, Pound stretcher, Nelly Browns, Crichton’s Shoes, Bike Shop, Tea Room, Henderson’s, Costa Coffee, BHS and Asda.
The report added: “The businesses were identified in a survey undertaken with older people, people with dementia and their carers at three different events during this year. This was to get a feel for the most popular shops that would be used by people in the town centre area, and therefore identify the most suitable businesses to target for dementia friendly status.
“The team who will deliver the pilot will be one full time member of Seniors Together staff and a part-time seconded member of staff from the Leisure and Culture Trust. They will be supported by the current Dementia Advisor for South Lanarkshire.
“The Dementia Advisor will work with a person with dementia to undertake some journey mapping. The purpose of this is to assess one store before the dementia friendly work takes place and then revisit it afterwards to see the changes and improvements that have taken place. The team delivering the pilot also have mystery shopper experience and they will draw on this as part of their monitoring of how well the initiative is working.
“All staff training will be provided by the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Advisor in the Hamilton town centre training suite.
The library staff will be trained in their own premises and already there are currently 86 members of staff identified to take part in the training.”
If the pilot is a success, the plan is to roll out the dementia friendly toolkit to other communities throughout South Lanarkshire and to involve other resources within the council. This will include, for example, Education Resources where staff will go into primary schools and work with P6 and P7 children to raise awareness of dementia. It is also planned to bring on board the Leisure Centres throughout the area.
The report concludes: “By doing this there are not only benefits to those living with and supporting those with dementia, there are also wider benefits to the business communities in attracting people to use town centres, as well as broader benefits to others who may already face barriers to using services due to other physical and mental health conditions.
“ We can improve the quality of life of a great many people.”