Go further to help people with dementia

It is not just at shops and supermarkets that the elderly may forget to pay for their purchases ("Elderly people caught 'shoplifting'? They may have dementia"; Monday).

Other places include public toilets where users have to pay 10 cents or 20 cents for entry, and hawker centres, especially beverage stalls.

The Alzheimer's Disease Association should also focus on these areas and educate toilet attendants and stallholders to recognise people with dementia and how to handle them.

It is good that supermarkets are training their staff to serve customers with dementia. They could go further, for example, by introducing dementia-friendly checkout counters to support these customers.

There should be clear signs as well as cognitive reminders - for example, signs to help these customers recognise the various coins to use for payment.

Staff manning these counters should be trained and given the practical skills and know-how to effectively support customers with dementia.

The Alzheimer's Disease Association could issue certification to supermarkets who train staff in this manner, to show that they are dementia-friendly supermarkets.

With this, general awareness can also improve, and normal shoppers may be more understanding when a customer with dementia takes a longer time to get through the queue.

Shopping malls could also consider introducing dementia-friendly parking spaces to further assist customers with the condition.

Let us listen to the needs of people with dementia and incorporate best practices into services, to make things as easy as possible for them.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 28, 2016, with the headline 'Go further to help people with dementia'. Print Edition | Subscribe