Forum: Caregivers, families can ensure those with dementia don’t shop on their own

It is heartening that two major supermarket chains are taking part in dementia-friendly initiatives (More than 200 FairPrice, Sheng Siong outlets made dementia Go-To-Points, Nov 21).

Members of the public can take a person who has dementia – if he appears to be lost or cannot remember his way home – to these Go-To-Points, so that he can be reunited with his caregivers.

Caregivers and family members are appreciative when retail operators treat their loved ones with dementia kindly and with respect, and this is likely to build brand loyalty.

Other supermarkets and department stores would do well to follow FairPrice and Sheng Siong’s lead.

It was estimated in 2021 that there are 92,000 people in Singapore living with dementia. This number will increase in tandem with our fast-ageing population.

Customers with dementia are more likely to forget to pay for their purchases.

Fortunately, awareness of dementia is growing and more people, including store owners and sales staff, understand that forgetting to pay is a hazard of the condition and not a deliberate act.

But being confronted about unpaid items can still be an embarrassing and stressful experience for a person with dementia and for his family.

While the two supermarket chains’ employees are trained to help customers who have dementia, caregivers and family members can also play an important role by ensuring that loved ones who have dementia do not shop on their own.  

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

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