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Accessible intu: Engaging with dementia

On our journey to become the accessible destination of choice we partnered with Alzheimer’s Society UK and Alzheimer’s Society Scotland as part of our support for Dementia Week.

In the run-up to Dementia Week many of our staff and retailers undertook Dementia Friends training. Some went a step further and became Dementia Champions, so that they could provide additional training in our shopping centres. It’s important our customers know that intu provides additional support and customer service for people with dementia, their families and carers. Each centre designed a dementia awareness activity to encourage customers to get involved and learn something about how they can support people to live well with dementia.

Singing for the brain proved very popular as singing evokes memories and releases endorphins. Memory walls and memory trees also attracted a lot of positive attention from children and adults who wanted to share their memories and read those of others.

Many of our retailers supported our events by generously donating time or products to enhance the customer experience – everything from afternoon tea parties to knitting sessions. Lush provided hand massages as touch is very important for those with dementia and Apple put on technology demonstrations to help customers navigate their way around electronic devices. 

Next year we plan to build on our commitment by relaunching the Dementia Friends training for all customer-facing staff and encourage even more retailers to take it up. intu Uxbridge are going to explore providing a shopping buddy service for customers with dementia so that they can be accompanied around the centre to enjoy some shopping and a cup of tea, while knowing they are in safe hands.