The banner group will be training pharmacists, changing physical aspects of the store and designating ‘quiet areas’ to help support people with dementia
Priceline Pharmacy is in the process of becoming a certified ‘dementia friendly’ retailer, it announced at a Sydney event on Thursday.
The banner group is training its pharmacists around the country about how to make its 334 pharmacies more ‘dementia-friendly’ during September, which is Dementia Awareness Month.
In addition, it will be changing some of the physical aspects of the store as well.
For example, removing black floor mats, as people with dementia cannot distinguish texture and may see these as a hole in the ground.
It will also be providing ‘Dementia Quiet Areas’ that may include a designated chair so that a person with dementia who becomes anxious or disoriented in store can sit down.
Changes will start to be rolled out in stores by October.
September is also ‘Dementia Friends Month’ where anybody can watch a 10-min video online about dementia to become a ‘dementia friend’, to learn more about the condition and find out how to help support people with dementia.
Priceline’s Sisterhood Foundation recently raised more than $1 million for its charities, one of which is Dementia Australia.
The money will help Dementia Australia roll out its programs, explained ambassador Ita Buttrose at the Priceline event.
“The programs for dementia are costly and we have a huge caseload, we’ve got more than 425,000 Australians living with dementia. We get 250 new cases diagnosed every day,” said Ms Buttrose.
“I think dementia is probably one of the key public health challenges of the 21st century and we have a lot of work to do because there’s no cure, and there’s very few treatments.”
Ms Buttrose’s father had vascular dementia, which is the second most common dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s accounts for about 70% of all cases in Australia.
“I personally can’t tell you what it’s like to be living with dementia, but I can tell you what it’s like to be the carer. It’s distressing to watch someone you love lose control and to see that their mind which was so wonderful doesn’t function the way that it used to,” said Ms Buttrose.
“It breaks your heart because you know they know something’s not quite right, and I know that I can’t do anything about it. It’s a really difficult journey and carers are so stoic, you never complain, you never want to leave the person, you don’t take respite care because you think that it will harm the person with the dementia.
“For some people they have to put the person they love into care because sometimes their behaviour gets too difficult to care for them at home.
“There’s nothing easy about dementia, you wouldn’t wish dementia on anyone,” said Ms Buttrose.
Priceline Pharmacy’s initiative to become ‘dementia-friendly’ will make a positive difference, she said.
“The pharmacist is held in very high regard in the community, people trust their pharmacist, and so the pharmacist would often see the signs of dementia in someone long before that person might tell the GP. They might come in and say, ‘look I need a pill for my memory, I’m not remembering as well…’
“So the pharmacist can play a very important role in dementia, and I think to have a quiet space and to think about the colours that you’re using in the pharmacy will be of a huge benefit for people with dementia.
“It’s a great initiative and I think Priceline is setting an example that I hope other people in retail will follow.”